January 25th, 2022

City Notebook: For better or worse, we welcome the New Year

By COLLIN GALLANT on December 31, 2021.


Hatters will be happy to wrap a bow on 2021 and leave it on the curb, but how do you sum up a year that was, frankly, better than the year before in terms of daily life for most of us – but worse all at the same time.

What was promised to be the “best summer ever” resulted in a truly awful fall, the deadliest in Medicine Hat’s history by many factors in at least a century.

That happened mostly out of sight in a locked-down Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, but it happened.

At least 4,700 cases of COVID-19 have been positively diagnosed, meaning that it’s likely that one in nearly 10 Hatters have had it.

It’s been all around us, and though the pandemic is talked about incessantly, the deaths – 78 in our city – have largely been left out of polite conversation.

That’s an amazing amount of silent grief.

The pandemic was stubborn to relent, to let us all “get back to normal,” so to speak.

And here were are again, facing an uncertain situation heading into 2022, with the worst numbers of the pandemic – wild numbers – and lots of ways to parse them.

That’s after the best of times, the worst of times.

So, in this space, we’ll forego the pronouncements that the Omicron variant is the end times, or a sort of last gasp of the pandemic.

We don’t know yet.

Neither do you.

But we should learn a lesson from recent history, better to play safe than sorry, and hope for the best.

The future is here

A notable news item on the renewable energy front missed in the holiday rush last week is that Lockheed Martin is now working with TC Energy to add battery storage at TC’s planned Saddlebrook solar farm. That’s one of the world’s most powerful defence contractors and one of north America’s largest energy companies. Another deal will see the Eastern Irrigation District – which doesn’t get taken for a financial ride very often, perhaps ever – lease land for a five-section solar farm near Brooks. So much for the argument solar power doesn’t make money.

If you’ve got a climate-anxious person in your life, it may calm them to realize that once people realize there’s money to be made in something, like reducing emissions, it’s sort of unstoppable.

We’ve lost track of the number of renewable power projects proposed in the southeast.

Not that the shift is easy, however. Albertans can expect an absolutely eye-popping floating price for electricity when the rate is released for January.

Raise a glass

A few of the notable passings in the Hat and region this year include Medicine Hat city councillor Jim Turner, former alderman Wayne Craven, Cypress County councillors Alf Belyea, Darcy Geigle and Art Squire, Medicine Hat Newsies Pete Mossey and Mike Hertz, downtown mainstay Floyd Ronan, Dominion Glass historian and Mr. Redcliff Ralph Pinder, and Rick Redmond, the former library board chair, among others.

Raise them up

There were too-many-to-mention arrivals at the maternity ward through 2021, many of whom are destined for great things, so let’s give them a hand, both literally and figuratively.

A look ahead

City council meets Tuesday to approve the final phases of the Towne Square development at 603 First St. downtown and a report into local tourism.

100 years ago

A post-war business depression hit its lowest point in 1921, a News editorial 100 years ago this week surmised, but better times were on the way.

Unemployment and industrial disarray would clear soon, it said, and Canada could look forward to the stroke of midnight on the year and toward progress.

New York police reported four murders during an overindulgent New Years celebration, another six fatal poisonings from bad liquor, 16 in hospital with knife or gunshot wounds and hundreds charged with violating liquor prohibition statutes.

Canada’s new 5-cent coin would be made out of nickel and offer more ample dimensions than the previously issued thin, sterling silver piece, which was commonly known as “the fish scale.”

The residents of Manyberries met with “considerable enthusiasm and movement” toward constructing a flour mill in the area and enticing further industrial development with gas well development.

Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at cgallant@medicinehatnews.com

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