Editor’s column

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    Mark Buckshon

    President, Construction News and Report Group of Companies

    In our coverage of news and events, along with government and business policies and initiatives, we quite often write about unintended consequences. In Toronto, for example, the city is implementing rules to allow the city treasurer to disqualify bidders who are engaged in litigation against the city. Industry associations are raising a stink, saying the consequence will be to deter businesses from filing legitimate legal claims, and could result in higher costs as some contractors and professional service providers simply won’t bid future work.

    There can be positive unintended consequences in other circumstances, however, and I’m enjoying the results of one – a call some six years ago from one of our Ottawa clients, Robert Merkley of Merkley Supply Ltd. to support a 100 plus km. cycling event in support of The Ottawa Hospital’s cancer research.

    Merkley, along with some other Ottawa industry leaders, had participated in a similar event in Toronto several years ago, and they decided to propose the fundraising initiative here. It has been an incredible success, raising more than $10 million with hundreds of cyclists and volunteers in the annual September event.)

    (However, there was an unfortunate accident two years ago, when a rider was killed in a traffic accident on the route – but the family of the riding victim, and others, still believed the good far outweighed the tragedy, so the The Ride event continues, with enhanced safety measures.)

    This initiative’s unintended consequences for me have been the discovery that I truly enjoy cycling, and I now routinely commute 30 km. a day to my office, and in a few hours will embark on a 65 km. preparation ride. My health has improved. Before I started riding, there were signs of pre-diabetes. This condition has been reversed (and I in fact need to increase my carbohydrate intake when I take on the commuting rides). I’m saving some money, too. No gas, nor car depreciation, and it is easy to park the $700 bicycle anywhere.

    While the cancer research is making much progress, virtually all of us either will experience the disease or have someone close to us suffer from it. Last week, a close family friend, with a wife and four young adult children, died from pancreatic cancer, and I attended the funeral a day before writing this note. I’ll be thinking about the victims, and survivors, as I pedal today, as I reflect about the unexpected results as a client business supported initiative to support a good cause has effectively protected me from diabetes, rather than cancer. I can live with these “unintended consequences” any day.

    If you would like to support The Ride, you can make a tax deductible contribution at this link: https://goo.gl/KbrLXm.

    Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He publishes a daily blog at www.constructionmarketingideas.com and can be reached by email at buckshon@cnrgp.com or by phone at (888) 627-8717 ext. 224.

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