Aaron Hemens is the editor for the Creston Valley Advance. (Photo by Rame Kader)

A word from the new editor

Aaron Hemens is editor for the Creston Valley Advance

Hello Creston! My name is Aaron Hemens and I am the new editor of the Creston Valley Advance. I figured that an editorial would be an appropriate way to introduce myself to the community.

I’m 23-years-old, and I’m Filipino on my mom’s side and Canadian on my dad’s. I spent my elementary school days in Abbotsford, but I’ve lived most of my life in Ottawa, Ont. I graduated from Carleton University’s journalism program in 2018, which is where I also developed a strong passion for photography.

Shortly after graduating from university, I accepted a job to work as the editor of the Inuvik Drum, a community newspaper that is published weekly in Inuvik – a town in Canada’s Northwest Territories located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle.

From January to August 2019, I was a one-person newsroom. In addition to running the Facebook page, my weekly responsibilities included filling the newspaper’s eight-pages with news and sports stories, photo spreads, briefs, editorials and more.

I went back home to Ottawa one year ago this month, and I would later find work in the fall as the news editor at the Fulcrum, the University of Ottawa’s student-newspaper. I filled that position until March of this year, right around the time when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm.

That’s pretty much my life in a nutshell. I’m happy to be back in the west, and I’ve been enjoying my time in Creston. Residents have been very friendly, and there aren’t any shortages of interesting stories to write about in town.

With that being said, a topic that I covered this week that I would like to give my two cents on is the mural that was recently painted on the wall of the abandoned “bunker” facing Northwest Boulevard.

READ MORE: Creston ‘bunker’ receives a mural facelift thanks to local artist, Calgary painters

While the mural has been met with a lot of praise, it’s also not without its critics. I think the mural is beautiful. I appreciate it’s minimal design and bright colour scheme, as well as the story behind it. It’s an ode to the Indigenous people who had previously inhabited this land, and it serves as a reminder of what this terrain used to be.

When I was driving into town, I drove by the bunker and I didn’t even notice it. It wasn’t until when I went out to seek the mural when I realized that the structure actually existed. It sticks out like a sore thumb now, but not in a bad way. For me, the mural is a funky visual that prompts my imagination to run wild.

I’ve read comments on Facebook from users who said that the mural is just a bunch of crazy lines. Yes, it is a bunch of crazy lines, but I think that’s the point. It’s supposed to be a fun, unique take on the area. More importantly, its main goal is to stimulate our senses and give us some colour in our everyday lives.

Like the design or not, I think we can all appreciate something different in town. I’ll take an abstract, colourful mural over a grey, decaying wall any day of the week.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


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