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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

West Shore RCMP say police presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to the shooting death of a 37-year-old man in Metchosin Friday night. (Black Press Media File)
West Shore RCMP says presence in Esquimalt Lagoon Saturday was not related to death in Metchosin

Police continue to investigate what they describe as ‘targeted incident’ in death of a 37-year-old man

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read