A groundbreaking experience on the Prince Rupert waterfront
The screen door banged shut as wee Todd walked in the back door.
"Hi Mom," he called.
"Hi Todd," Vivian Hamilton replied from the kitchen. "You're home early."
"Yeah, we had a field trip," he said as he took off his jacket and flung it onto the railing heading downstairs.
"That's not where you hang your jacket," she chided.
"Sorry Mom," he quipped exasperatedly as he grabbed the jacket and moved it the full five feet over to the coat rack where all the other mitts, tuques and jackets were neatly arranged.
"So, what did you learn today?" she asked.
"I learnt that you can break ground on water," wee Todd replied enthusiastically.
"Did you skip class?" his mother immediately questioned.
"How in the heck can you break ground on water?"
"Easy," he said. "You use a horn."
"What?" she asked incredulously. "Where was this so-called field trip?"
"Honest, Mom. We all got on a boat with all the big-Whigs and we went over to Ridley Island where they celebrated the start of construction of the Ridley Road, Rail and Utilitiy Corridor.
"There was a bunch of speeches and then they all got on the front of the boat and tooted air horns.
"As soon as they tooted their horns, the construction guys on the land started up this big back hoe and began diggin' up dirt.
"It was neat," he said breathlessly.
"Then we ate pickles and ham and cheese and some really great Nanaimo bars."
"Were all your little friends there?" Vivian asked wondering if she may need to call another parent to find out if this was one of wee Todd's most elaborate stories to cover the fact that he ditched.
"Garry, the two Jacks, Mary and Don and Michael were there... lots of people were there," he answered.
"How about Jennifer?" she asked.
"Yeah, she was there," he replied quietly.
"Did you play nice?" she asked. "You know we had a few calls after what you said a couple weeks ago."
"Yes Mom. I said, 'hello Jennifer' and she said 'hello Todd' but that was it — honestly."
"Okay, but remember what I told you, play nice with your little friends."
"But she started it.."
"Todd!" his mother said with a scolding look.
"So, other than breaking ground on water, what did you learn?" she asked.
"Well," he replied slowly as he scratched his head.
"The place they're building will cost about $90 million to lay down a big circle of five railway tracks, power lines and a big road into the place.
"That will let trains and big trucks get into that part of the island and out again.
"They said it will open up a huge amount of land that they can put big buildings on for holding stuff to be put on big ships to go to Asia," he said proudly.
"They said this will be the stuff they need to start building other stuff that will give lots of people jobs.
"And those jobs will give other people jobs who will build more buildings that will give more people jobs and..."
"All right Todd, that's enough," his mother interrupted.
"But what did you learn?"
Wee Todd pull out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table and looked back at his mother.
"Um, I learned if you don't give Jennifer a microphone..."
"Um, I learned that when everybody works together, things get started."
"Very good, now go wash up for supper."
The conversation could have happened just as well in 2013 as it could have in 1973, but wee Todd learned something first-hand last week.
When governments and companies big and small work with and include communities, First Nation and all others, good things can happen in Prince Rupert.
The Ridley Corridor is a perfect example of that cooperation.
And that's groundbreaking.