A Farwell, Thank you for the Memories

I would like to start this blog the same way I started in 2010, by stating I am here to learn. I can honestly say in whatever I am doing, if I left it better than when I came, it’s a great day. Today is a very great day, and I hope that everyone who holds my position gives it their all. To make life better, every day, for everyone.

I truly believe I’ve gained more than I gave. Which after 11 years includes numerous amounts of experience, knowledge, insights, an above all, many many friends. Not just acquaintances. I want to thank all members of Council, past and present. Their staff and especially the staff of Ward 12.

I can go back to Jason Letourneau, Meghan, Jordan Pinkster, Shannon, Vincent, Kevin and many others. Which the City usually ends up robbing from my office because I hire nothing but great individuals.

I want to thank the business units, Administration teams, Civic Partners, Calgary businesses, the Community Associations, and above all, the residents of Calgary.

I want to thank everyone for the time spent together, for the exchange of ideas that have created paths forward, and for sometimes, just having a simple visit and conversation.

I will remember many discussions, debates, disagreements, and most of all the times we came together on many topics. To create a better community. There are so many cherished moments I will take with me and so many stories I will retell over the coming years.

While the rest of Council is great, however one never forgets their first cohort. In 2010 I joined City Council, with Councillors Carra, Demong, Mayor Nenshi, Pootmans, and Mcleod. Next term there will only be two of us, and I ask Council to lead onward and continue the great work has been started, and the great work that continues now.

It was great sitting beside Cleopatra Gondek, both in Planning Commission and Council, we have had a great relationship going back and forth. It was great being office neighbours with Councillor Davison. It was great having fantastic discussions and mentorship in both directions with Councillor Chahal. It’s great still having discussions with Councillor Sutherland while he tries to get me to see things his way, and let’s not forget Councillor Jones. He’s still here with us now, as he was in the past.

Also, as we are a team, I’d like to thank Councillor Farkas, Chu, and Magliocca. Because that’s the way we should be. A team. It was also great to tag team many aspects of the Green Line with Councillor Wooley, and to learn so much from the long time colleagues Councillor Farrell and Colley-Urquhart, who are here to teach us and will continue to do so. (and if I missed anyone, sorry- I think I got everybody)

As with all the great joys of my time here, one must also mention great disappointments. When members criticize me, and criticize my time away from Calgary during family illness. The sayings of social media and some public mentalities, and then to be questioned by Administration over it.

However it was the members of council and members of the media (that we have to make sure are here, because they are the ones who actually tell our story in an appropriate way,) who came to my aid, and helped shine a light on the disrespectful nature and unethical trolls that we as elected officials sometimes have to put up with.

 It was the silence of certain Council Members connected to those individuals that was especially telling as well.

I say this, as there needs to be a change in the discourse and interactions of the public and Council members. It is time I made up for it with my wife, children and grandchildren for the time I have missed, and I hope that that will be many, many years to come.

I think it’s fitting to finish using someone else’s words because I truly believe through our interactions with others, we learn to be better. I also believe, it’s with others is how we can evaluate our own growth, as well as our own journey through every stage of our lives.

What I’m about to read. Is part of a three page handwritten letter from a developer, which in my view, really hits the mark.

“Thank you for all your support on this project. It’s been a long road to get to where we did, and it will be nice to move to the next stage. As with all things that challenge us, they provide us with the opportunities to learn, and get better at what we do. This plan was no exception. We knew we had to put our best foot forward on the quality of the plan, and I am very happy with what we were able to present to Council. We learned the importance of balancing individual and stakeholder’s wishes, as we moved through the complex levels of approvals. We became much more understanding about how the costs of new developments impact the city. We learned never to take anything for granted. We likely also learned lessons we don’t know yet. And hopefully we can put these into work for us in the future years. As we continue to build a city in a positive and cooperative manner. I also think the City gained from the process we all went through. Evidence by some of the positive changes and productive conciliations, coming out of administration recently. Aside from sleepless nights, long delays, high planning bills, and way too many meetings, I feel we are all better off because of this plan and associated conversations about growth that accompanied it.”

And this is what I think Council is all about. Thank you.