Local realtors Don Summer and Doris Jolicoeur will soon be leaving Morinville after 20 years for the warmth and beaches of St. Lucia. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
Local realtors Don Summers and Doris Jolicoeur will soon be leaving Morinville after 20 years for the warmth and beaches of St. Lucia. The Professional Realty agents were featured on HGTV’s Caribean Life last spring as they looked for a property on the island. That goal and dream is now a reality as the couple recently got a purchase agreed to.
“We have a deal. We have funds to our solicitor,” said Don Summers, adding the deal is set to close Sept. 14, and the couple are planning to be on the island in mid-October.
Although the couple said they will miss Morinville and the people they have come to know over two decades, neither will particularly miss Alberta’s cold winters.
“It’s not a case of us leaving Morinville. There’s nothing driving us out of Morinville,” Summers said. “I’m just so done with minus 20, minus 40. We’ve travelled a fair bit. I like the tropics. The cost of living is low once you are established, and we’ve got our pensions. It’s a matter of how much money do you need. How much crap do you need. So we’re downsizing.”
Although Summers and Jolicoeur are looking forward to semi-retirement., they will be spending some of their time as landlords. The couple will rent part of their new home to locals and perhaps travelling Morinvilians looking for some sun in the depths of winter.
“There are two suites below and a four-bedroom suite for the owners up top,” Jolicoeur said. “It’s more than what we need, but the dogs can have an air conditioned room. The dogs are going to need an AC room.”
For the near future, the couple is looking to rent the two lower units to locals on a long-term basis. Renting to tourists is a possibility down the road. Jolicoeur said they will likely have a discount for Morinville residents and military personnel when they begin renting their suites to visiting tourists.
“There is a lot more work with short term rentals, but the pay off is there,” Summers said, adding their new home is 250 metres from the hospital. It is an opportunity the couple hope to work with by renting their suites to visiting doctors. “There aren’t really hotels in St. Lucia per se. It’s more resorts, and they are expensive. Most of them are all inclusive, and the all inclusive portion is $150 US a day. That’s just your food and drink.”
Summers and Jolicoeur see an arrangement with the hospital or nearby police academy as a win-win situation. “If the hospital can save money, and the doctor can have more of a home as opposed to a resort, I think it is a win for everybody,” Summers said.
But it is not the financial opportunities that are drawing the couple to the island. It’s the weather and the people.
“They’re just really, really nice,” Summers said of island residents. “They’re not materialistic the way a lot of North Americans are. They are focused on family and being together. They’re just into enjoying life.
With great people and great weather, Summers and Jolicoeur are looking forward to the opportunity to shift gears and relax, getting off what they see as the hamster wheel.
The couple will be keeping a property in Morinville and Jolicoeur will be staying there into the fall with the couple’s dogs until the pets are cleared to travel to St. Lucia.
“It’s scary. It’s nerve racking. It’s exciting,” Summers said of the opportunity. “It’s just going to be a whole change. Any time there is a big change like that, there’s a mix of emotions with it.
Business will continue
Summers and Jolicoeur are passing the reins of their Professional Realty operation to Barry Wilhelm, who will occupy the same office in Paras Place in downtown Morinville that Summers and Jolicoeur used. “He will effectively be taking over from me in mid-September,” Summers said. “Same office. Same company, and we will be introducing him to all our clients.”