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Couple weighs dream decision

It’s a decision that few get to make and Bob and Norma Barradell aren’t taking it lightly. Sometime between now and Tuesday the St. Albert couple must decide whether they want $2 million or a new $2-million dream home.
DREAM COME TRUE
Codie McLachlan

It’s a decision that few get to make and Bob and Norma Barradell aren’t taking it lightly. Sometime between now and Tuesday the St. Albert couple must decide whether they want $2 million or a new $2-million dream home.

On Tuesday the couple won the Winner’s Choice Lottery, which offers a choice between a cash prize or an estate home at Pinnacle Point east of St. Albert. The couple has been so busy this week that they haven’t really thought about their choice.

“It’s so unexpected that we’re still in a daze over it,” Norma says.

The couple has been buying tickets for various charitable lotteries and fundraisers for years.

“Usually when we buy the tickets we buy it for the cause and if you win something it’s a bonus,” Bob says.

The couple toured the home for the first time on Wednesday.

“It’s just a fabulous house,” Bob says. “Well-built, well-decorated … it’s just a dream home.”

“Incredible view of Sturgeon Valley … a wonderful house,” Norma says.

The 4,400-sq.-ft. estate home by Heredity Homes has a four-car garage and outdoor hot tub. It’s been professionally decorated and landscaped and comes fully furnished. One of the bedrooms is decked out in a retro-Oilers theme. But the most jaw-dropping room for the couple is a 12-seat home theatre with black leather recliners, a huge screen and a dizzying bank of electronics.

“I said ‘Wow, I’d have to go on a training course to know how to run this,’” Bob says. The home’s builder assured him that the house comes with instructions that are a step up from a manual.

“He says, ‘Well actually, if you accept the house, there will be a guy here wandering around with you for about a week to show you how everything works,’” Bob says.

The couple retired to St. Albert nine years ago from Yellowknife. Bob was an airport manager and Norma a high school teacher.

They’ve been busy minding grandchildren this week and are looking forward to some quiet time over the weekend to discuss their decision among themselves. The couple has two children and six grandchildren. Their family is equally stunned by the win and has avoided giving advice but it seems like everyone else they know is weighing in.

“Anybody we talk to, they know what we should do,” Norma says.

“The majority of people would go with the money,” Bob says.

The builder estimated that the annual property tax burden would range between $6,000 and $7,000 and the monthly utility cost around $800, Bob says.

The Winner’s Choice Lottery is the third annual for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which has raised more than $3 million to date, said Natalie Minckler, the foundation’s executive director.

Money raised goes toward the re-development of Edmonton’s Inner City High School.

After selling out last year, the lottery sold 85 per cent of its tickets this year.

“Of course, we were hoping for a sellout, but we did make money on it so we are happy about that,” Minckler said. “We really found that the economy had an impact on our ticket sales.”