The Willows resides within Cochrane’s River Heights district — a mixed-use community that includes residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and open space uses over approximately 1,000 acres (414 hectares). The River Heights Area Structure Plan (ASP) published by the Town of Cochrane in October 2011 includes the following key elements:
The plan recognizes the southern entrance to Cochrane along Highway 22 (Cowboy Trail) as a significant landmark area. To celebrate the Town’s history, geography and unique character while creating an area of visual interest, this southern gateway near The Willows may include welcome signage integrated with distinctive buildings and wetland areas.
Designed to become a focal point for residents of the River Heights area — a place where they can socialize while they meet their daily needs — the Village Centre will include a complementary mix of retail and residential uses in an inviting, pedestrian-friendly environment. The Village Centre will be situated within walking distance to the south of The Willows.
To support the Village Centre and enhance residents’ ability to get around throughout River Heights, a Transit Centre for local and regional bus service will be established within walking distance of the Village Centre, Employment Area and other River Heights services and amenities.
Located to the west of The Willows, the River Heights Employment Centre will house a variety of businesses and clean industries to create a regional employment hub within the Town of Cochrane.
The River Heights ASP envisions a police station, fire hall and health service centre in the vicinity of the Village Centre and Transit Centre.
Existing wetlands in River Heights are being protected and enhanced to sustain the area’s natural character and expand opportunities for residents and visitors to experience and appreciate Cochrane’s natural heritage.
Parks, Pathways & Public Open Space
Open space and parks of various sizes and functions will accommodate a wide range of recreational pastimes. A primary central park will contain the majority of play fields not associated with school sites. Additional recreational opportunities such as community gardens will be interspersed in neighbourhoods throughout River Heights. All open spaces and parks will be linked by sidewalks and pathways, encouraging residents to consider walking or cycling as easy alternatives to driving.