Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Golden Buffalo and Shell Place

A potential new development and developments just completed have caught my attention in the past few days here but I have only had time to sit down to write about them now.  This new signature building, now in the permit stage, could grace our downtown skyline in the future.  It's encouraging to see movement afoot when it comes to downtown revitalization, and while one single project can't be expected to take the full burden of renewal, this appears to be a step in the direction, given the mess that our last city council created on this front.

Aside from giving us a better skyline (which currently consists of a short brown government building and two 1970's concrete apartment buildings) the new project will provide much-needed retail and hotel space in our downtown core.  I also like the idea that this will lead to some of the big players in the oil sands having their offices here, rather than down in Calgary.

The second big development, now pretty much finished to my knowledge is Shell Place, the new stadium down at MacDonald Island.  It's been some time since I've past by it (with all the big equipment and fencing, there really wasn't all the much to see) but I look forward very much to seeing it in the near future.  This new facility will play host to the Northern Kick Off in 2015.  (Yup, CFL action right here in Fort McMurray.)  In addition, Shell Place will also play a leading role in the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games coming here next August.

And of course, since we are on the topic of new projects, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that all these athletes and visitors (along with other travelers to our region) will be arriving here through our recently revamped INTERNATIONAL airport.  An interesting year ahead is shaping up for the region.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Post-it Positive

A high school student in Airdrie, Alberta approaches her locker to find that someone has broken in to it.  Worse, she discovers that the perpetrator used her iPad to access her Facebook account to tell her to die.  Rather than play a victim, the girl decides to turn a negative into a positive and post sticky-notes with positive, encouraging messages around her school.  Sounds like a display of compassion and initiative.  Sadly, incomprehensibly, however, her school didn't see it that way.  Rather, some genius "educrat" decided that this was littering and reprimanded her for this kind act.  

This issue is set in my head especially since I took an opportunity at work yesterday to centre out a couple workers (who I don't even know since they work in another part of the plant) for some good work.  I'm not trying to sound like I'm bragging here.  I'm really not.  But I've come to learn that a kind word can go a long way.  You never know what that other person is thinking.  They could be having the worse day of their life.  They might feel unappreciated, misunderstood or simply need a little encouragement.  The thing is....you just don't know.  A positive word CAN make a difference and this is something I try to put into practice in my own life on a daily basis.  Sure, it won't change the world, but it could make a big difference to the person receiving that good word.

Anyhow, that is the back story to why this incident here speaks to me.  Frankly, my first though was that the principal of this school is a very poor leader, a complete idiot, or maybe worse.  After stewing over it I thought I do a bit of searching to find out just who this principal was since now name was given in any news source I've seen yet.  Ah, the wonders of the internet.  Of course, it didn't take long to find a name and an email.  And of course, I couldn't just leave it at that.  I had to email the guy.  Now, its not clear whether the principal was the individual who delivered the reprimand however, as the principal of the school one would expect that he would have the final say in disciplinary decisions.  The buck stops here, as the old saying goes....leadership 101.

The principal's name is Ed Polhill.  Here's what I wrote......

Dear Mr. Polhill,

It is with great concern that I read of a decision by the administration of your school to reprimand a student who did a brave thing by standing up to bullies.  As a parent and former educator myself, I find this move very disappointing.  A good word to a person, be it verbal or in the form of a short written note (as was the case here) can make a big difference in a person's day.  Surely the upside of this is worth more than the value of a few sticky-notes.  I find it sad that your school puts more value on joining the anti-littering, environmentalist band wagon than on the value of students.  With respect, this is shameful.  Perhaps if you got out of your office and actually spoke to some of the students you would get a better sense of how this one kind-hearted student's altruism put a positive spin on their day.  Sometimes the actions of one student are just as effective at combatting a problem as are fancy jargon and programs from all sorts of experts on the topic of bullying.  I feel what this young lady did was quite admirable.  She should be thanked for showing some initiative, turning a negative into a positive and contributing in such a healthy way to her school.  She certainly should not be reprimanded.  This is ridiculous.


Darcy Steele