Fairfield Island Real Estate & Homes for Sale
Fairfield Island is a rural Chilliwack suburb community. Chilliwack’s most northern residential neighbourhood forms an arc around Minto Landing. North of the residential area are tracts of fertile farmland, all the way to the Fraser River. To the west lie the Skwali 3 Indian Reserve and Island 22. The island is bounded on the south by the Hope Slough, separating it from the N Yale-Well community and Downtown. To the east, there’s more farmland.
Before the cars, buses and railways, the only practical way to travel and ship freight in and out of what would become Chilliwack was the Fraser River. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the mighty Fraser was its only highway, and Minto Landing was one of the popular landings the sternwheeler riverboats stopped at. Minto Landing was 3.3km from Chilliwack’s Five Corners business hub and critical to the area’s early development. By the late 1920s, the BC Electric Railway (BCER) had replaced the river boats. During the 70s, Minto Landing became an industrial area, with gravel extraction along the banks of the Fraser River. Today there are redi-mix concrete plants near the river, but most of Minto Landing has been developed as farmland.
Fairfield Island is accessible via road bridges at Young Road and Menzies Street. There is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge planned for Williams Road, which would connect with Williams Street on the mainland. The primary east-west connector is Hope River Road.
Fairfield Island is a quiet, secluded neighbourhood — perfect for raising a family — located just minutes from Downtown Chilliwack and all the amenities, including shopping, dining and schools. It’s a great place for owning a bit of land or horse property. Parks and trails are within walking distance, and there’s a large 11.4-hectare sports field.
Most of the homes in Fairfield Island are single-family detached rancher and split level houses, located on spacious 600m2-800m2 lots. The majority of the homes were built in the 1970s and 1980s. The Merritt Drive subdivision near Hope Slough and the zig-zagging Bell Road to the northeast are areas of newer development.
Fairfield Island is expected to see some growth. The Chilliwack Proper and Fairfield Island Neighbourhoods Plan addresses infill development opportunities for redevelopment of existing large lots into smaller lot single detached, duplex development or row housing; some convenience commercial development; and new attached housing along Hope River Road and properties in close proximity to green space.
While Chilliwack was once a rural farming community, and Fairfield Island certainly embodies that heritage, amalgamation with other villages and communities over the years has caused Chilliwack to become a thriving urban centre. Most residents still feel that Chilliwack is a quiet, peaceful and less complicated place to live, with a friendly community that reflects that rural lifestyle and values. Chilliwack has experienced a 38% drop in crime over the past ten years. (Statistics Canada 2014)
Chilliwack’s population has grown 11.9% over a five year period (2006 to 2011 - NHS 2011), and housing affordability remains the primary factor that has driven its impressive growth. The median total household income is $65,603, and for two-or-more-person households, the median total is $81,369. The unemployment rate is 6.7, slightly below the Canadian rate of 7.0% for the same period. (Year 2015, 2016 census)
Chilliwack has a younger family-oriented population, with a median age of 41.3 years. 42% of the population is between the ages of 19 and 65, and children up to 19 years of age another 26.5%. Seniors (65+ years) make up 16% of the population.
Another one of Chilliwack’s drawing cards is its incredible weather. Chilliwack was featured in Maclean's Magazine's "Canada's Top 10 cities for weather” article in 2013. It earned the number one spot for “Warmest year-round” with an average annual temperature of 10.5 °C. Temperatures typically range between 0.5 °C (33 °F) and 26 °C (79 °F) over the course of the year.
Chilliwack’s warm season lasts for about 3 months, from June 18 to September 16, and summers are warm and typically partly cloudy. Chilliwack’s cool season also lasts for about 3 months, from November 13 to February 20 on average. Most of Chilliwack's rainfall centres around the middle of November, with an average total accumulation of 24.9 cm (9.8 in). Due to the mild conditions, snow typically only falls during a 2 to 3 week period each year.
Fairfield Island Homes For Sale
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Chilliwack is a business-friendly city. The lower cost of living and attractive commercial property pricing have helped the city encourage businesses to relocate and build. Today, Chilliwack's service and retail sectors account for about 50% of its gross domestic product, followed by manufacturing at 13%. Construction accounts for another 8%, reflecting the city’s growth. The traditional agriculture and forestry industries today account for 5%.
Job opportunities in Chilliwack are excellent, but Fairfield Island has also become an affordable bedroom community for people who work in Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford. Vancouver is a 1 hour 13 minute (105.6 km) drive, and Abbotsford is only 33 min (37.4 km) away. The earning power in these cities can be slightly more, with Vancouver’s median household income at $72,662, and Abbotsford at $69,822 (2015 census).
Two daycare businesses in Fairfield Island make things easier for working parents. Fairfield Island Daycare on Hope Road is a brand new space, with a 40’ long chalkboard, 1,100 sq ft of floor space, and a large fully fenced yard in a safe neighbourhood. Kindercenters Childcare on Strathcona Rd offers curriculum-based daycare, childcare, preschool, group daycare, multi-age childcare and before/after school child care facilities. Kindercenters Childcare has more than 20 years of experience in childcare.
28% of Chilliwack’s residents have some college or university education, and 48% have completed high school. 19% have completed a Bachelor’s undergraduate degree and another 19% have earned a post-graduate degree. (2014 Chilliwack Quality of Life Report)
The Chilliwack School District #33 assigned schools for the Fairfield Island catchment area are Strathcona Elementary School, Chilliwack Middle School and Chilliwack Secondary School. All three schools have been around for over 100 years.
Strathcona Elementary School has been serving the students and families in Fairfield Island since 1909. The school was named after Lord Strathcona and has seen a lot of changes over the past century. Early photos show students arriving by horse-drawn buggies. Some of today's students are going to the same school their grandparents attended. The school accommodates students kindergarten through grade 6. Special programs offered by the school include the ‘One School One Book’ project, girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams, a floor hockey team, movie nights, and Circles of Care.
Chilliwack Middle School has an enrolment of over 550 students, grades 7 through 9. The school opened in 1913. Chilliwack Middle is a dual-track school that offers a Late French Immersion program. It’s also a designated Hockey Canada Hockey Skills Academy, open to both boys and girls registered with Chilliwack Minor Hockey. The Chilliwack Middle School Hockey Skills Academy Program is a fully licensed Hockey Academy that specializes in high-performance training and elite skill development of student-athletes before the start of their school day.
Chilliwack Secondary School has an enrolment of over 1,500 students, grades 10 through 12. Chilliwack Senior began as a small two-room school in 1903. Chilliwack Senior offers a wide range of academic programs as well as some exceptional extracurricular opportunities. Specialty courses and programs include Aboriginal Education, Equestrian Program, Hairdressing, Human Services Career Enrichment, and the Secondary School Apprenticeship Program and WEX (Work Experience).
Fairfield Island students also have some excellent post-secondary options available to them. University of the Fraser Valley - Chilliwack North has more than 100 programs to choose from, including 2 master’s degrees, 15 bachelor’s degrees, majors, minors, and extended minors in more than 30 subject areas. UFV also offers more than a dozen trades and technology programs.
Vancouver Career College - Chilliwack is very hands on, assisting students, from the beginning of their studies through to finding job opportunities in their chosen career field. They offer programs in art and design, business, health care, and teaching education.
Sprott Shaw College designs career-focused college programs around each individual student, with placement assistance. They offer programs in Business & Administration, Nursing & Health Care, Child, Family & Community Support, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Trades & Design, Post-Graduate and Language.
Chilliwack ElderCollege works in partnership with the University of the Fraser Valley to offer adults 50 years and better with education and learning opportunities. Programs include Active Participation, Arts & Culture, Learn by Doing, Study & Discussion and Technology & Photography.
There are no shopping centres in Fairfield Island, but several nearby. Salish Plaza is located just across the bridge across Hope Slough, at the Young and Yale intersection. The plaza has 16 stores, including Pricesmart Foods and BC Liquor Store. The Plaza is also conveniently located right next to the bus loop downtown terminal.
A bit further south are the Holland Shopping Centre and Walmart Chilliwack Superstore. Holland Shopping Centre specializes in Dutch products, including groceries, cheese, kitchen items, books and more.
Chilliwack's two malls are located south Highway 1, in Sardis. Cottonwood Mall offers over 75 stores, including Sears, Dollarama and London Drugs. Chilliwack Mall has over 20 stores, including Winners, Warehouse One, Reitmans, SportChek and Safeway.
Likewise, there are no restaurants right on the island, but there are some great choices across the bridge.
Younie's Restaurant offers tasty staples like burgers, omelettes, pasta, sandwiches and of course, dessert. Johnny's Jukebox Diner has a 50’s vibe and serves up burgers and classic milkshakes. For a taste of the Mediterranean, RendezVous Restaurant offers a great mix of Greek and Italian cuisine. Or enjoy a pizza from Demetre’s.
Where the N Yale-Well area just south of Fairfield Island really stands out is its Asian cuisine. Mamas Kitchenette offers all-day breakfast, lunch and a selection of Asian cuisine. Pho Galaxy has pho soups, noodle dishes & other Vietnamese staples in a small, casual eatery. Tokyo Japanese Grill is the popular place for sushi, udon and ramen, and donburi. Capital Restaurant and Ginkgo puts a unique twist on their Chinese cuisine, with an infusion of sweet and savoury. And Chilies Thai Cuisine offers classic Thai dishes, prepared with strong aromatic components and spicy sauces and dips.
If it’s a special occasion, or you’re planning a date, Bravo Restaurant & Lounge offers a casually elegant cosmopolitan dining experience with an innovative Pacific North-West flare. A bit further south, Prestons Restaurant + Lounge creates unique dishes that are farm-to-table, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Prestons features steaks, seafood & pasta, unique cocktails and outdoor seating.
BC Transit Route #3 offers regular scheduled bus service into Fairfield Island, providing access to much of Chilliwack’s Downtown. UFV students connect with Route 1 (Vedder) to get to and from class.
Fraser Valley Express (FVX) offers scheduled trips to Abbotsford and Langley, and connection with TransLink's transit system into Vancouver. Agassiz-Harrison Transit System connects Downtown Chilliwack with Rosedale, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs.
Fairfield Island is situated about 10 minutes north of Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway). Vancouver is 1 hour 13 minute (105.6 km) minutes away, and Abbotsford is only 33 min (37.4 km).
South of Fairfield Island, Chilliwack Airport (YCW) is a small regional airport near Highway 1. Far West Helicopters operates a fleet of 4 Bell 206 Jet Rangers based out of Chilliwack Airport, for commercial helicopter operations, charters and sightseeing.
Arts and Entertainment
Fairfield Island’s most popular attraction is Minter Country Garden. The garden features 14 Dutch glass greenhouses, equipped with the latest temperature, irrigation, and fertilization technologies. The best gardening staples, unique home and garden giftware, and a complete range of yard and garden supplies are available. There’s also a full-service florist shop. Visitors can enjoy a quick bite at the Cultivate Cafe, or shop at the Aromatica Fine Teas and Switzer’s Vintage Décor boutiques.
There are no museums, galleries or cultural venues in the residential neighbourhood of Fairfield Island, but plenty of options are but a few minutes south of the bridge.
The Chilliwack Museum and Archives' exhibition galleries feature temporary exhibits that focus on aspects of Chilliwack's human and natural history, culture and heritage. Feature exhibits are rotated annually. Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame recognizes the best athletes, teams, and coaches in Chilliwack's sporting history.
Chilliwack Cultural Centre is where art comes to life in Chilliwack, with music instruction studios, arts and crafts studios, an art gallery and meeting rooms. O’Connor Group Art Gallery is a 1478 square foot venue with focusable lighting and hanging rails, available for art shows. The Cultural Centre is also home to the Chilliwack Players' Guild and the Chilliwack Academy of Music.
The Chilliwack Players' Guild has been part of the Chilliwack theatre tradition since 1931. Its membership is made up of local residents who would like to become involved in theatre, whether on stage or behind the scenes. The Chilliwack Academy of Music is a nonprofit music school that makes the best teachers and learning experience available to Chilliwack residents at a very competitive rate.
Wellington Art Group is the gallery and studio of artist James Wiens. James studied at the Emily Carr College of Art & Design in Vancouver. An avid lifelong outdoorsman, his artwork reflects his love of nature and landscapes. The walls of the Arthouse on Mill Street gallery feature talented local artists, as well as Marko Jalava’s own acrylic work. The beautiful, newly renovated gallery space was formerly known as Smudges Art Shoppe.
Classical music lovers have the pleasure of experiencing the world's finest music masterpieces, played by musicians and sung by singers from the Fraser Valley, performed by The Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (CSO) and Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra. Each year the University of the Fraser Valley Theatre Department's UFV Theatre produces three or four main stage shows, as well as its annual Directors' Festival.
Every Friday evening during the months of July and August, the Downtown Chilliwack Business Improvement Association hosts free concerts and activities in Chilliwack's downtown core.
The Chilliwack School of Performing Arts (CSOPA) is a non-profit, pre-professional youth theatre company. Here students are empowered to tell someone else's story or honour and understand life and reality that is not their own. The school offers junior, intermediate and senior programs, as well as day camps.
Sports and Recreation
The largest park in the area is Fairfield Park. The 11.4-hectare sportsfield offers 2 pee wee diamonds, 2 midget diamonds, 2 full sized soccer/football/field hockey fields and a concession area. A 2km flat trail loops around the perimeter of the park. There are picnic tables, fitness equipment, a playground and an open grass area, and washrooms.
Gwynne Vaughn Park offers nearly 7 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and lawns, with a heritage orchard, surrounding the heritage house built in 1896. The park has become a popular location for summer weddings, ceremonies, photo opportunities, and picnics. Visitors love to stroll past the large variety of specimen trees, shrubs and roses, and its large formal perennial border.
Fairfield Island has 7 additional neighbourhood parks: Emerald Park, Fiesta Park, Glasgow Park, Guinet Park, Hymar Park, Shamrock Park and Strathcona Park.
To the west of Fairfield Island is Island 22 Regional Park. The 132-hectare park offers a fenced off-leash dog area, equestrian facilities, a bike skills and jumping area, a large boat launch, network of trails, and picnic area. The trails are popular for hiking, cycling and cross country running. Island 22’s horse park has become the primary training grounds for most of the Fraser Valley’s riders. The northern edge of the park is bounded by the Fraser River, with excellent fishing for trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.
The Chilliwack Landing Leisure Centre offers a state-of-the-art aquatic centre, weight room and group fitness studio. The aquatic centre features an eight-lane 25-metre competition size pool with a 1-metre diving board, large family wave pool, waterslide, swirl pools, sauna and steam room.
Located next to the leisure centre, Prospera Centre is a 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena. The arena is home to The Chilliwack Chiefs, a junior "A" ice hockey team. The 100,000-square-foot facility also hosts concerts, ice shows, trade shows, and conventions. The building has a capacity of 6,000 people during concert events. Prospera Centre has two NHL sized rinks, a multi-purpose meeting room, professional locker rooms, full food and beverage service and a pro shop.
Other nearby recreational facilities include the Rotary Outdoor Pool and Chilliwack Senior Recreation Centre. Situated just across Hope Slough, Meadowlands Golf and Country Club is a classic 18-hole golf course that is both accommodating and forgiving to novices, yet challenging for seasoned golfers. The beautiful tree-lined course is a par 70.
Chilliwack is renowned for its world-class fishing, in the Fraser and Vedder Rivers, and crystal clear lakes. The Fraser River is the primary spawning artery for all five of the Pacific salmon species: Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink and Sockeye. The Fraser is also home to the White Sturgeon. A survivor from the age of the dinosaur age, white sturgeon can attain lengths in excess of six meters, and weigh in at over 600 kilograms. Wild Pacific salmon and steelhead in the Vedder River will test any angler's skills, with magnificent fish that put up an incredible fight.
Investing in Fairfield Island
The Chilliwack Proper and Fairfield Island Neighbourhoods Plan has paved the way for new infill development opportunities in Fairfield Island. There are provisions for the redevelopment of existing large lots into smaller lot single detached, duplex development or row housing. There will also be some convenience commercial development and new attached housing along Hope River Road and properties in close proximity to green space.
Chilliwack’s population has continued to grow, with an 11.9 per cent increase over a 5 year period (2006 to 2011), making it among the fastest growing regions in BC. A primary reason is that Chilliwack home prices are typically more affordable than those in Abbotsford, Vancouver, or other Metro Vancouver cities. Chilliwack is an outstanding place for new home buyers to raise a family, or seniors to downsize and retire in a quiet affordable neighbourhood.
Average home prices for detached housing are $557,500 in Chilliwack, $925,000 in the Fraser Valley, and $1,608,000 in Vancouver. For attached housing, they are $399,250 for Chilliwack, $462,000 in the Fraser Valley and $805,200 in Vancouver. And for condos, the average price is $197,450 in Chilliwack, $348,800 in the Fraser Valley, and $648,200 in Vancouver. (Real Estate Board: Chilliwack Median (CADREB), Fraser Valley Median (FVREB) and Greater Vancouver Benchmark (REBGV), November 2017)
Chilliwack also earned top ranks for the lowest taxes and fastest approvals, according to the 2017 Industrial Development Report Card (NAIOP). Average residential property taxes and charges in Chilliwack are $3,626, compared with $4,185 in Abbotsford, $4,609 in Langley, and $4,869 in Surrey.
The population of Chilliwack and Fairfield Island is projected to reach 13,000 by 2040, based upon current growth and moderate densification. (The Progress) In 2017, Chilliwack was listed in the ‘Top 10 List of BC Cities for Investment’, published in the British Columbia Investment Towns Report (Real Estate Investment Network). Their decision was based upon affordable real estate, a strong economy, and skills-focused education programs.
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