by Richard Perry
Dale Bernard is one of those people who makes you feel at ease right away. You can spot his smile the minute he leaves his vehicle in the parking lot and makes his way to his new work home.
The Paqtnkek community member was chosen to lead the custodial and maintenance team at the new $11 million Bayside Travel Centre after a long career as a plumber, pipefitter and steamfitter.
“I feel like this is my retirement job,” says Bernard, as we meet in the expansive atrium at Bayside. “I worked with the union for about 20 years in places like Newfoundland, Ontario, B.C. and the Maritimes – wherever the work was. Then I had my own business and traveled every day from Paqtnkek to Waycobah in Cape Breton.”
Bernard, 61, was raised in Waycobah in a family of ten children. He fell in love with the trades and traveled to wherever the work would take him. Which makes coming home and working right in Paqtnkek so special.
“I love working here. I found that in my own business, there was a lot of stress. This is so different,” he says.
Bernard manages a staff of about ten. They can be seen scurrying around the 16,000-square-foot building sweeping, mopping and sanitizing every possible touchpoint. That includes outside tables, windows and pump terminals at both the retail islands and commercial cardlock. His staff complement will likely grow as Bayside eventually moves to a 24/7 operation. Winter weather will also require planning for snow removal on such a large property.
Bayside CEO Rose Paul says Bernard has a wealth of experience and a way with people that made him an obvious choice to lead the custodial team. “He has been an absolute joy to work with and we are fortunate to have Dale working here in his home community where he can mentor other younger staff.”
Social media comments by visitors applaud the custodial and security staff for their friendliness and dedication to keeping Bayside as clean and as safe as possible.
“We get a lot of compliments,” he says. “We see positive attitudes among everyone here, including my staff. I find that if you smile at people, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll smile back.”