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Small town living

October 24, 2016

Do you prefer city living because you want to have options? Options for entertainment, shopping (I realize that is a form of entertainment for some), restaurants, schools (K-12 & post-secondary), travel, conferences, etc?

I enjoy having multiple options in the above areas too (except shopping!). Yet I choose to live in a small town in south-central Alberta. And contrary to popular opinion, it is not just because I grew up in this town and my parents (and in-laws) still live here… though that is another great benefit of this particular small town!

three-hills-sign-picI prefer to live in a small town for many reasons…

Life has a live-able pace – Although I am an ambitious, type-A personality, I need life to proceed at a live-able pace. Many of my friends (some of them also living in small towns) try to live life at warp speed and are so busy running from A to B to C to…Z, they don’t actually live. They just run… and run… and run. Because of my physical limitations, I cannot do that. But I don’t want to do that either. I want to live life and enjoy it. Small town living makes that more possible, though ultimately, that is a choice each person must make for themself.

Finances – Living in a small town is financially beneficial. We have been able to buy a house, my wife has been able to be a stay-at-home mom, and we send our children to a faith-based school (even though I am only employed part-time). Living in an urban centre would require a significantly higher income to acquire a home and then to continue paying the mortgage. I would either need to get a different (full-time) job or my wife would have to work outside the home for pay… which would create additional complications.

I calculated that someone could live in a small town like Three Hills within an hour of a city (eg. Calgary) commute to work for 20 years, account for the fuel cost of driving back and forth, pay themselves $20 per hour for the driving time, and still be financially ahead in the difference of buying a house (eg. small town home selling for $250,000 would be listed at over $450,000 in an urban centre).

Travel – Along with the financial benefit of only requiring one vehicle, small town living is great for getting from point A to point B. Except for inclement weather, our children are safe traveling around town, including to school or friends’ houses, either walking or by bike. Even international students new to town are able to navigate around town within a few weeks of arriving. With my regular use of a power wheelchair, I am also able to get around our community easily. (And if I ever do get stuck, citizens are always glad to provide assistance, usually because they recognize me)

thrashers_logoOptions – Realizing that not all small towns offer the same opportunities, Three Hills is a wonderful community because it offers a vibrant arts community with programs for adults and children, both a public K-12 school and an affordable faith-based option, faith communities of many denominations, and a post-secondary institution. Partially  because of these resources, significant opportunities come to this town (eg. Global Leadership Summit) and it makes the community attractive for professionals (eg. accountants, lawyers, medical doctors, etc. Along with high school and college athletics, we also have a junior b hockey team, the Three Hills Thrashers.

Technology – The incredible opportunities now available through technology mean that a person can connect to virtually anywhere in the world for a face-to-face meeting. (I benefit from this significantly as I blogged about here)

Proximity to the city – While living in a small town includes all these benefits, the other benefit of Three Hills is its close proximity to Calgary. We are just over an hour to Calgary – even less to the international airport – providing us with all the “beneficial options” of city life nearby.

Three Hills is not particularly unique. Smaller communities like Sicamous (less than an hour to Kelowna) or Tofield (less than an hour to Edmonton) and others across Canada hold many of the same advantages of small town living.

For these reasons, I love living life in a small town. Care to join us?

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