Jim Sinclair: Time to swap scenes, hazards

As advanced as we may now be in terms of technological progress, we’ve always had the ability to seek out a better life or, at least, a change.
For some of us that means the condo down the hall; for others, a continent on the other side of the globe. For me, it means a promotion to a newspaper in the province next door.

As advanced as we may now be in terms of technological progress, we’ve always had the ability to seek out a better life or, at least, a change.

For some of us that means the condo down the hall; for others, a continent on the other side of the globe. For me, it means a promotion to a newspaper in the province next door.

It’ll be sort of like going against the flow during rush hour, trading in the end-of-the-line, frontier land-rush environment of Sooke for the wide open landscape directly east of Red Deer.

As editor of the Stettler Independent (another paper in the Black Press chain) I get a new set of people, facts, figures and burning issues to become acquainted with. There are even two other papers to oversee in neighbouring villages called Bashaw and Castor.

The situation will be just about as different as it could be: going from Sooke, a scenic, relatively affordable bedroom community with nagging growing pains, to a young municipality with a lot of catching up to do, especially in terms of infrastructure keeping pace with an exploding population.

Geography and maturity (not to mention a fairly healthy oil- and gas-driven economy) have teamed up to furnish Stettler with some of the amenities so badly craved in a town like Sooke, things taken for granted elsewhere, like enough sidewalks and streetlights.

The town has a population of close to 6,000, about half that of Sooke. But it seems much bigger because it serves a regional population of 30,000. It’s kind of like Langford East with all of the commercial accoutrements you’d expect. Stettler is home to a healthy arts and culture community, along with – as the pamphleteers eloquently assert – a world of recreational opportunities.

Claustrophobia is less likely to occur on the sprawling prairie than in a foggy rock-and-conifer dominated Island environment. But if a need for more cosmopolitan stimulus shows up in Stettler, there is a city of 90,000 just 40 minutes to the west, plus Calgary and Edmonton are each only about two hours away.

These points indicate a rewarding, interesting future is possible in an area that residents like to call “the Heart of Alberta.” But they will not dilute the fond feelings for Greater Victoria and the West Coast climate built up over so many years.

The last five years have been good, a good start on a connection with Black Press I’m pleased to be continuing.

I get to trade in my fear of earthquakes and tsunamis for a fear of tornadoes and drought. As for flooding, I don’t yet know enough to cultivate a decent phobia.

Many thanks to the thoughtful folks who have reminded me of the lower temperatures I’m likely to notice in the winter months – it’s very caring and I appreciate it a lot. Thanks to you, I’ve made a note to consider switching to long-sleeve shirts in late October.

Truth be known, my wife Barb and I have spent many years in an area with much more extreme weather than Stettler, and we can report we’ve retained 100 per cent of the feeling in our extremities.

I’ll keep up with what’s going on in the Capital Regional District and watch with interest what happens to Sooke’s transportation arrangements and the ongoing development controversies in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

Thanks to Rod Sluggett, Pirjo Raits and Mike Kraft for the past five years, and to the very good friends we’ve made here – we will stay in touch.

Jim Sinclair was the reporter at the Sooke News Mirror.

editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Just Posted

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read