On the bright side of things
Thursday, Jan 05, 2017 06:00 am
While not on the disaster scale of the 2013 flood, it was reassuring to see how our valley fire departments contributed through their mutual aid responsibilities in battling the Dec. 29 fire at the Mount Royal Hotel in Banff.
As it is, the blaze will no doubt make for a huge economic hit for the Mount Royal and owners Brewster Travel Canada. Those who witnessed the fire in the early hours of Thursday won’t be surprised to read about the extensive damage to 10 of the 135 rooms, and to lesser smoke and water damage through the rest of the structure.
The situation could have been much worse, though, if area firefighters had not managed to contain and extinguish the blaze before it carried to other buildings in Banff’s dense downtown core.
In the end, Banff, Canmore, Exshaw and Lake Louise fire departments were all involved, highlighting the need and necessity for mutual aid agreements. With a fire of the scale and difficulty of the Mount Royal roof incident, mutual aid ensures no small municipality will suffer by not having enough firefighting power on its own; or through not having a wide array of firefighting equipment.
Beyond the fire itself, of course, we’d like to give a nod to the Mountie who originally spotted the rooftop fire and to those who then entered the Mount Royal to make sure everyone was safely evacuated.
Still beyond the fire, Mount Royal staff should receive kudos for their work in ensuring guests were gotten out of the building, then ensuring alternate accommodations were found for all.
U.K. guests Outlook staff spoke with the same morning were stunned by being involved in a fire and evacuation, to say the least, but all had good things to say about the way they were treated and about the way the Mount Royal, Brewster and other accommodation providers and businesses assisted them to ensure their New Years holiday wasn’t a disaster.
All of the Mount Royal guests will go home with quite the tale from their 2016 holiday, but we’re confident their overall memory will be one that favourably relates to the support and kindness shown to them far from home.
While we’re handing out kudos, we’d like to thank all Bow Valley residents who lent a hand through the holiday season by donating to local charities, and volunteering to ensure as many people as possible enjoyed a joyous holiday season.
As well, it’s good to see that local musicians are keeping the YWCA’s women’s emergency shelter project front of mind (Page 43).
Just days into 2017 and these musicians are already taking steps to ensure shelter funding continues to roll in.
These efforts – related to the fire and to the holiday season – occurring at the end of the year as they did, are more in keeping with how Outlook staff want to remember 2016, rather than as a year of general negativity related to virtually anything related to creation of affordable housing in our towns.
Here’s hoping negativity in regard to an issue of such importance slips onto the backburner for 2017.