Many people say their hearts led them back to the Comox Valley.
In Ernst Vegt’s case, that adage is a little more literal than most.
Ernst returned to the Comox Valley with his wife, Jennifer, four years ago, after nearly four decades away.
“I lived here from 1973 to 1975. I always loved the Comox Valley but when I left I had no plans to ever return. But as luck would have it, I had a little heart problem, which is now sorted out, but I just knew there was too much stress in my life in Vancouver – particularly with the traffic – so we moved to the Comox Valley.
Ernst built his business, Coast Imaging Arts, in the Vancouver area, but thanks to the digital era, he was able to move his home and keep his business relatively intact.
“Luckily, many of our clients have followed us here,” he said. “We are old-fashioned colour separators, for images for books, signage and the likes – wherever images are required.”
Having a business in the imaging industry comes as no surprise for those who know Ernst, considering his love of photography.
“It kind of runs in my family,” he said. “My two brothers were both photographers – they ran a very successful colour lab in the Vancouver area. I guess I was the black sheep of the family, because I became a lithographer, so the printing industry.”
Ernst is a familiar face to many causes in the Comox Valley. He can often be seen volunteering for one thing or another – be it picking up trash at the Comox Valley Community Clean-Up, or spearheading fundraising calendars for the Comox Valley Food Bank – he keeps himself busy, giving back to the community.
“Wherever we live, we need to contribute to making that community as good as it can be,” he said.
He became active with the Comox Valley Camera Club upon his return to the Valley, and was instrumental in the rebranding of the club, to its current incarnation, as the Comox Valley Photographic Society. He was also responsible for the new website (cvps.ca), and was named the member of the year for 2015.
Although it would not appear so at casual glance, Ernst insists that he has indeed slowed his pace since moving back to the Comox Valley, which was, after all, the intent.
“Yes, it has (slowed down). There’s always enough to keep you busy, but I love that, honestly, it’s only 10 minutes to anywhere in the Comox Valley. It’s such a breath of fresh air. It’s where we belong.”