Seventy years ago, with gravel mining in mind, my grandfather bought his first piece of industrial property in Alberta. Our family has been working ever since to make the most of the land we’ve had the privilege of developing—first as gravel mining operations and now by carefully redeveloping much of it into new residential, commercial and parkland spaces.
Who We Are
That very first Alberta business was started in 1912 by James F. Burns II, as a concrete and excavating operation, under the name J. F. Burns. James used a horse-drawn dump-wagon to haul sand and gravel to various job sites and mixed concrete by hand to support Calgary’s early development. In 1946, he sold the business to his son, (J.F. Burns III), after claiming that, since his files would "no longer fit in the glove compartment" of his Studebaker, it was time to move on. This led to several other businesses (J. F. Burns Sand & Gravel, True-Mix Concrete, South Side Concrete Mix, Pioneer Paving and BURNCO Rock Products) and the property purchased in 1946, and several more thereafter, now make up the base of the BURNSWEST property holdings.
Today, BURNSWEST is run by James F. Burns III's son, Jim Burns, and Jim's son, Jeff Burns. BURNSWEST oversees the reclamation and redevelopment of gravel lands to ensure they can be utilized and enjoyed for generations to come. Enabling the land to take a new course enhances its value and allows for exciting, new uses. In fact, that first land, purchased in 1946, was first mined for gravel and then housed a concrete plant and the head offices for JF Burns Sand & Gravel and Pioneer Paving. It now houses our Highfield 1 and Highfield 2 industrial buildings which are leased out to various local businesses. (see Space for Lease for current info.)
We Are Going
The BURNSWEST mandate has now shifted to developer and manager of land and property holdings in which businesses and residents can thrive. We take great pride in our ability to transform land in useable ways for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. Our plans encompass long term land use and much care and attention goes into every detail of our developments.
Southbank Park enhances our property and Okotoks’ quality of life.
Our Southbank Business District development exemplifies our focus on quality, on adding value through ingenuity, and our integration with the existing community and with our natural surroundings. Even before development in Southbank began, we invested in the creation of Southbank Park.
In 2014, BURNSWEST invested a significant amount of money on upgrades and rehabilitation to create a welcoming environment for local visitors and support conservation efforts in the adjacent Jim Graham Park wildlife sanctuary. Additional work to install riverside pathway across the north length of Southbank Business District and connecting to Okotoks’ extensive pathway system will follow.
Carburn Park showcases our commitment to preservation.
We believe in preserving the natural beauty and integrity of the land we develop. An example of our approach is captured in beautiful Carburn Park—a 30 acre Calgary park that was carefully sculpted through selective gravel mining, natural tree and foliage preservation, and the installation of attractive pathways, park benches and park facilities. It sets a high standard for what can be accomplished through local collaboration and commitment.