January 19th, 2020

Library Chat: Nothing holding us back

By Ken Feser on August 2, 2019.

I am soon going to Vancouver Island to visit with family. I would like to stray off the topic of the library to explain why I choose to live in Medicine Hat rather than the beautiful place where I was born and raised.

Growing up in Qualicum Beach I saw a lot of economic hardship. Real estate collapsed in 1982 and forestry jobs dried up in the following years. At a young age I decided that my first priority in life was stable employment.

I moved away from Vancouver Island and ended up living in many places. I built my career but I always felt like I was in exile from paradise. That ended when I came to Medicine Hat, both because I was tired of that thinking but also because Medicine Hat is really nice. I speak from experience having lived in three countries, four provinces, and a dozen different communities.

Medicine Hat has a lot of things going for it. The economy is still pretty good and there are career opportunities. Those combined with relatively affordable real estate means a good life is easier to attain here than in some other jurisdictions. There are many character houses and interesting properties with views and other desirable qualities. I have had two fawns scampering around my back yard all summer which is pretty special.

Train tracks, hills, coulees and other natural barriers divide this city into many interesting nooks and crannies. Downtown has great architecture. There is a ton of municipal infrastructure: Pools, rinks, recreational facilities, cultural venues, and of course a wonderful library! The river is beautiful and neighbourhoods are pleasant. We are small enough to be convenient and big enough to have everything necessary. And the best thing of all is the amazing friendliness and feeling of community. I have had more enjoyable conversations with strangers in my short time here than in the rest of my life put together.

B.C. is experiencing an economic boom right now and places that used to be in decline are thriving. That success is built above all on pride and it is open to us too. We are blessed with many of the same advantages and some of our own; we need to believe in ourselves and remember this is a wonderful place. Strong economies are built on confidence, and I am confident there is nothing holding us back.

Ken Feser is chief librarian at the Medicine Hat Public Library.

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