A volunteer on the right track
reprinted from We Mean
Business, a quarterly publication of the
Red Deer Chamber of Commerce (Rob Gilgan) December 2010
The signature on an email from Paul Pettypiece reads: 'Sustainable
future, respectful past'. Far from an empty slogan, it's a snapshot
of how the Chamber volunteer manages his life. When the Chamber
developed policy committees in 2006, Paul was a member of two of
them: Transportation, and Civic Affairs, which he also chaired.
While the focus of the transportation policy committee was broad and
included highway, rail and air, the high speed rail discussion was
among the most memorable. "I helped draft the high speed rail policy
three years ago that went to the Alberta Chamber conference which
was unfortunately defeated. I have recently helped develop a new
policy to go to the Board for approval soon, as part of my
contribution to the new Housing and Infrastructure Policy
Committee," he said.
He was also on the Civic Affairs committee during interesting times,
when the City and County seemed to be at loggerheads on every issue.
"By the time the committee was formed, the City and County were
starting to talk," he explained. He's watched the two bodies work
hard together in the community's interest. The committee involvement
also led him downtown in the early days of the development of the
Greater Downtown Action Plan. Currently, Paul's volunteer energies
are directed toward Forth Junction, a proposed project to develop a
multi-use community, heritage, retail and entertainment centre in
Riverlands, part of Red Deer's revitalized downtown.
For Paul, Forth Junction is the culmination of a life-long interest
in the railway and he's working to ensure the rail heritage that was
so vital to Central Alberta's success isn't overlooked and
forgotten. The name comes from the junction, situated south of 32nd
Street, that connected traffic from the CPR and Alberta Central
Railway, feeding a line that ran west to Rocky Mountain House. He
hopes the Riverlands development would include 2 or 3 heritage
centres, a shopping centre, elevated restaurant, a gathering centre
and theme park, connected to a hotel and convention centre,
eventually. "It needs to be an indoor facility, run year-round and
be self-supporting," he says.
The project is a major undertaking, threading together all of the
resources in Central Alberta and beyond that currently care for the
railway heritage. Paul feels it's a perfect fit as he transitions
into semi-retirement. He also continues to be involved in Junior
Achievement and the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society, as well
as serving his community on the Springbrook Community Association.
Paul operates Central Alberta Websites, a website publishing and
development firm that also hosts reddeerregion.com and
Paul Pettypiece is a Chamber volunteer who is working hard
to ensure Central Alberta's railway heritage becomes an
important part of Riverlands.
Photo by Rob
Gilgan, Red Deer Chamber of Commerce