story by Patricia Merrick | photography by Kurtis Kristianson
Moving to Crossfield from Victoria, B.C. after 30 years to retire in small-town rural Alberta has been an adjustment for Alice Jean (AJ) Raffan, but a decision she said she doesn’t regret.
The retiree purchased a Dream Development home in Vista Crossing in November of 2018 and said she plans to live there the rest of her days.
“I love it. Living in Vista Crossing, it really feels like because this community is growing slowly, it feels like you’re creating community right from the start. When a new family or new people move into a new house, you just march on over and introduce yourself. It’s building the community right from the core here in this little part of Crossfield.”
Dream Development has built a variety of homes in partnership with McKee Homes to form Vista Crossing. The community includes duplexes, townhomes, detached homes with large front porches, homes with double-car driveways and homes with triple-car garages backing onto a pond.
Raffan lives in a standalone, single-family two-storey dwelling with her dog Opal – a silver standard poodle. She said Vista Crossing is a community she would recommend to others of all ages looking for their forever homes, and Dream Development has been a “responsive, attentive and supportive” developer to work with.
“It’s affordable housing for me compared to the real estate in Victoria,” she said, adding she went from owning townhouses in Victoria to moving into a condominium to retire but soon realized she could get a lot more for her dollar in Crossfield.
“This is a small town with amenities that attracted me – like the library in particular. The fact that there was a lending library right here in town with access to the Marigold Library System really makes a big difference,” she said. “I can get gas, I can get my tires changed, I can get groceries if I need to – that sort of thing is important for me as a retired person… I’ve got that right here and I’m only 20 minutes from Airdrie and into Calgary in no time flat, too. It’s the ability to live in a small town with the amenities of a big city close by.”
She said she is starting to feel like part of the community and was recently approved to become a member of the library board.
“The other part that’s really cool is the fact that there are walking trails in this town and they’re maintained – it doesn’t matter what the season is,” she said. “The other day, I was shovelling the sidewalks and I uncovered a chalk sunshine that had been drawn on the sidewalk by the little girl down the street. I mean, how cool is that? I uncovered the sunshine.”
The move also brings her closer to family – she’s able to visit her mother who lives in care in Calgary, and her sister and brother-in-law live in Calgary as well. After working in long-term care as a nurse for 40 years, she said she’s happy to settle in a quiet community.
“I’m pleased with the move. Getting used to the prairie and the minus 30 something odd – that’s an adjustment, let me tell you – but I’m happy that I don’t have to go to work so I can just stay home,” she said. “When I look out my second-storey window, I am looking straight at the mountains. Oh my gosh what a view… It’s rural but it’s not. The opportunity is there.”