Hemsing hopes to bring “dynamism, a businessman’s point of view” to the board
By COLLIN GALLANT September 24, 2021.
A man who spent nearly 40 days on life support suffering from COVID-19 this spring says he is well enough and energized enough to lead the election campaign he first planned in 2020.
Paul Hemsing also says he doesn’t want his long recovery from illness to overshadow the problems of the Medicine Hat city council race, and underscores the severity of the pandemic.
âI really feel like I can bring a little bit of dynamism and a businessman‘s perspective to the board,â Hemsing told The News Thursday.
He was one of the last to participate in a race of more than 30 candidates for eight board seats, which will be decided on October 18.
Its main points are improving the city’s interactions with the public, supporting the development of the city center through the âWaterfront Districtâ plan and good budgeting.
âWe have to be responsible, but we can’t have a reputation for being one of those places that just cut, cut, cut,â he said, noting that economic development, population growth and the generally “unhappy” nature of the residents must be addressed.
âI would like to see better communication from the city. These are important and expensive choices that are made by businesses and everything should be very clear, âhe said.
“I know the city does polls and town halls to involve people, but I would like the city to be more open, otherwise people are unhappy, it spreads on social media, and soon everyone is in the Game.”
Hemsing, who is well known as a charitable fundraiser in the city, has been the owner of Salon Purity for 23 years.
He grew up in Rolling Hills, Alberta, and has two adult children.
Hemsing fell ill with COVID-19 in late May, about a month after his first vaccination, and then detailed the progress of his hospitalization and lengthy recovery process in a web log throughout the summer. A persistent physical disability has reduced the time he can devote to haircuts, freeing him from civic responsibilities, he said.
âI really didn’t feel like I was in a place I thought I could run, but now I feel like I’m around 95%,â he said, adding that he supported the measures of public health and would have liked to see the council act with local measures this summer before the current fourth wave.
He fully supports the recently announced plan to stimulate downtown redevelopment and sees an urban âmeeting placeâ as an attraction for new residents and businesses.
âWe have been successful in attracting a number of restaurant and hotel chains, but it has been uneven,â he said.
He said that “in the long term” it could be beneficial to replace old recreation centers with new regional facilities – one of the recommendations of an upcoming parks and recreation plan.