What's Happening

Interesting Travels


Driving to Fort Mac for the first time in a few years, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the twinning of Highway 63 is underway. En route to an Alberta CARE Conference on recycling (albertacare.org) , I noticed that there was only minimal traffic at one in the afternoon -on the way there and same time on the trip back-, and stretches of road were almost completed.  It’s a big construction project, with big distances, but it feels good to see firsthand that this critical project is indeed started! I’ve always worried about our oldest son when he used to drive to Fort Mac each month, and other friends who travel on that highway on a regular basis… The completion of this massive project will improve safety on the road to Fort McMurray!
Of course, Fort Mac and the massive industrial entities it hosts would be magical destination for a photographer who has a passion for all things industrial.  The larger-than-life tire by the front door of the SUNCOR Interpretive Centre, the SUNCOR site itself with the enormous equipment moving all over, the 50-foot bucket of a large hauling vehicle that was parked in the shop allowing us to get close, the brand-spanking new shredder at the Regional Landfill and all the smart designs promoting recycling practices up there, there was no end to the fun photo opportunities we encountered. For years, I was teased by loved ones about my fascination with Fort McMurray.  My dad Gaetan was with Imperial Oil for more than 40 years in Montreal and my grand-papa Henri had a long career with IH (International Harvester), so I come by this fascination with big equipment ‘honestly’. I will always cherish the industrial photo gigs I have completed in recent years, on the topics of drilling, fracking, machining, welding and also when I photographed an industrial catalog of large and minute steel components…
While chatting with key players of the Recycling and Waste Management Industry, I met the CEO of MCL, the waste recycler for the Leduc region.  When I expressed my admiration for the gigantic wood shredder we had just seen, I was asked if I would like to view –and possibly drive!!-  a 62-tonne compacter called an AL-JON at their waste management site in Red Deer… Well, I love unique opportunities and I promise to share my feedback (and pics?) when this takes place!
It is par for the course when you attend a conference to see at least one ‘hospitality night’ on the agenda: so it was that a large group of delegates accepted the cordial invitation of K & K Recycling to partake of a few refreshments and appetizers at a popular downtown pub. The destination of choice was the dynamic and urban chic Podollan Pub, on the main level of the Podollan Inn.  Greeting us in the lobby was a collection of Jason Podollan’s jerseys, and they stated that he was an NHL hockey player with the Maple Leafs, Miami and the LA Kings… Other well-known NHL players’ jerseys were also adorning the walls (yay for Iginla and DiPietro!), successfully creating a dynamic sports theme in this spacious and beautifully appointed pub. Our servers were lovely and efficient, and the food was undoubtedly yummy! I have since found out that the Podollan Inn is a familiar hospitality option for several Oil & Gas travelers I know. We met Jason, and found him to be a congenial and candid guy and a hands-on owner who seems to care about his staff! 
At this social evening, I met Roxanne Bergheim, a congenial delegate’s wife who recently retired after a long career in the health industry… She was the co-founder and executive director of the St-Paul/Aspen PCN, and since I discovered of late that PCNs offer a great service to countless municipalities under the umbrella of Alberta Health & Wellness (including the Leduc District), I was thrilled to meet someone who was instrumental in creating a Primary Care Network in that area! 
While I was learning a myriad details about this fascinating and impressive industry, I learned that other cities in our province are now quite settled in their modern recycling practices: as the City of Leduc is now implementing a new ORGANICS recycling program, we can agree that time will get us all on track eventually, and that someday in the not-so-distant future, we will have brag about being a green community.
I am grateful for your friendly and sincere feedback! You can find me at dominique@pipestoneflyer.ca. Enjoy the cool weather and colors of Fall!  

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