Two rights make a WOW!

Posted on January 30, 2008
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            The Miramichi Regional Hospital Foundation held its annual gala Saturday night. The Rodd Miramichi Inn manager, Jim Gertridge, gave its annual donation of $5,000 which is very, very generous. The Highland Society donated $10,000 which is also amazing.            The gala also honoured the memory of Jack Estey who was a constant supporter, personally and financially, of the foundation.

            The really WOW squared moment, though, was when Dr. Gerard Losier donated $500,000 on behalf of himself and his wife Judy. It was WOW squared because the same couple donated the same amount last year. Such generosity, dedication and commitment are simply unsurpassed.

            Gerard, speaking off the cuff, said he has a vision he is not yet ready to identify but that he intends to do more. He wants the local endowment built to allow the local hospital to acquire more leading edge equipment than will otherwise be available.

            He spoke off the cuff because an injured child required his attention  at the last minute before the gala. He wound up going to the hospital instead of drafting his comments.

            What an honour, privilege and joy it is to have a couple like Dr. Gerard and Judy among us.

            We are indeed fortunate to have them among us to set an example and inspire each of us to do, perhaps, a bit more.

Two wrongs make a stink

          Enterprise Miramichi is moving its offices from the east side of the river to the other to the great disappointment of the members of the Historic Business District members. The Business Improvement Area, like many downtowns is struggling to hold its own and grow.

            The reaction included a motion passed at city council to cut the city’s contribution to the organization from $35,000 to one dollar for the coming year.

            Miramichi Bay du Vin Member of the Legislative Assembly, Bill Fraser, joined in the chorus of criticism.

            Enterprise Miramichi board member Brent Tozer responded with a salvo of his own.

            I have about as much second-hand information as Brent and perhaps almost as much first hand. Until December, I was a partner in Waterfront Place, a commercial building on Water Street constantly looking for tenants. Miramichi Planning District Commission was one of the two other organizations in the same building as Enterprise Miramichi. It moved to Waterfront Place while I was a partner. Community Business Development Corporation Northumberland Inc., signed an agreement to move to Waterfront Place after I was no longer a partner.

            In my opinion, Enterprise Miramichi staff had little interest in trying to work with Historic Business District commercial property owners to achieve a solution. I think the decision to leave was a poor one for a development agency.

            Having said that, I believe city council’s motion to cut financial support was also wrong.

            While I disagree with the directors who made the decision to move, I believe directors have a duty to be directors, not puppets. It is hard enough to get volunteers for community service without expecting them to be simply messengers or rubber stamps.

            There will always be competition among neighbourhoods, landlords and bureaucrats. Each group will hardly ever believe they are treated fairly.

            As long time Boston congressman, Tip O’Neill, said, all politics is local. Usually, the smaller the stakes, the more bitter the battle. People fight hardest over pieces of the shrinking pie.

            The Enterprise Miramichi fiasco is just one more skirmish in a rivalry that goes back generations.

            On we go.



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