Anna Garcia says her family feels lucky to call her largely forested acreage in Bragg Creek home. Photo by Adrian Shellard/For CREB®Now.

Next door to nature

Residents tout benefits of acreage living

Anna Garcia loves her neighbours.

The Bragg Creek resident says they’re relatively quiet, active and the kids are cute.

Did she mention they’re a family of moose?

“We saw her (the mom) almost daily, licking right off our deck. Those moments are spectacular. It makes us feel exceptionally lucky,” said Garcia.

The lure of living so close to nature was too much for Garcia and her husband to resist when the couple uprooted from Willow Park in southeast Calgary to their largely forested Bragg Creek acreage in 2001, where Garcia’s husband also owns a furniture business.

”There’s so much solitude and privacy. It’s the absolute opposite of the hustle and bustle of the city,” said Garcia.

Living on an acreage also provided the Garcias – including their two young children – immediate access to “a very active, outdoor lifestyle.”

“We’re out daily, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, hiking,” said Garcia.

Garcia’s move to Bragg Creek inspired her Willow Park neighbour Deborah Clark to also move there.

Today, Clark lives in Elbow Valley, but she and her family lived in West Bragg Creek for 12 years.

Clark specializes in country residential real estate west of Calgary, primarily in Bragg Creek, Redwood Meadows, Springbank and Elbow Valley.

While it might be easy to get caught up in idyllic notions of country life, Clark says the decision to move to an acreage should not be an emotional one.

First, take a moment to reflect on why you are moving out of the city and what you hope to gain from an acreage experience.

“How much of your life are you interested in moving to the country?” asked Clark. “Is it going to be just where you sleep and eat? Or, are you looking for a lifestyle out of the city?”

Second, consider the commute – not just to work, but friends, families and activities.

“If you’re going to live a city lifestyle from the country, you’re probably going to hate it because you’ll be on the road all the time,” said Clark.

Clark also asks her clients if they have children, as each country community differs when it comes to their proximity to schools and amenities. When Clark and her family lived in West Bragg Creek, for example, her children had to take 45-minute bus rides.

Another important consideration is that purchase contracts for country and city properties vary widely. For example, if an acreage’s water is from a well, a potential buyer must have the well tested before committing to any purchase. The same applies if an acreage has a septic tank for sewage treatment.

“There’s a realization that your infrastructure isn’t being taken care of by a big-city operation. You have to pay attention to its servicing every couple of years,” said Garcia.

Clark emphasizes that buying a property outside of Calgary is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. Whether a buyer seeks solitude and quiet, the opportunity to build up a property and own horses or have a relatively low-maintenance acreage, different properties apply.

Garcia acknowledges property maintenance can be significant, citing the act of shoveling her long driveway – which also serves as the family’s “best tobogganing hill” – as an example.

Despite the shoveling, however, Garcia says, “we wouldn’t trade this for the world.

“The key is to know yourself and what it is that fills your cup with energy. For me, that’s nature, the quiet and the solitude,” she said.

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