by Richard Perry
If you picked up Canada’s national newspaper on February 26th, 2018, in the two-page centre spread there’s a construction worker crossing the TransCanada Highway at Paqtnkek with then-Chief PJ Prosper and Rose Paul, CEO of Bayside Development Corporation. The worker’s face is hidden, but Travis Isadore remembers the day very well.
“It was very cold that day, but I loved the work,” says Isadore, the 44-year-old married father of five who is now managing security in the new travel centre.
So not only did he help build the overpass and ramps to bring traffic to Bayside, but now he manages a team of 14 guards and supervisors.
“After the training, I kind of went from guard to supervisor to manager fairly quickly,” says Isadore, who is respected for his calm demeanour and serious approach to his career.
“I submit payroll for the team, take attendance and do scheduling. I reinforce the message that this is a work-in-progress. Many situations will be new to us, so we need to take things in stride.”
He expects to be even busier within a few weeks with the anticipated opening of the popular Mary Brown’s Chicken drive-through restaurant. That will include monitoring the number of customers in the atrium and ensuring smooth one-way traffic from entrance to exit.
He and his staff have been firm but polite in reminding customers that masks must be worn inside.
“If they don’t have one, we’ll run up to them to supply one and explain our policy.”
Isadore and his wife Amanda moved to Paqtnkek from Wagmatcook First Nation when they were expecting their first child in 1996. He returns often to his home community. Isadore still his a licence to fish snow crab with Wagmatcook’s fleet, which he’s done for 22 years.
He also narrowly missed being elected to Wagmatcook council (by 25 votes).
“I hope to keep fishing in the summer because of the recent spotlight on the Aboriginal fishery. Not just for me, but to support the community. I started the same time the Marshall ruling came out in the Supreme Court of Canada. Yet here we are still fighting for our rights.”
Isadore expects to be managing Bayside security for quite a while. Which is somewhat surprising when you consider that it wasn’t part of his plan during the training course two years ago.
“I had planned to keep the diploma in my back pocket,” he says. “But after about the third day, I saw the passion and commitment of our trainer Mike Kuba. He really cared about the work and its value.”
“I also saw the commitment of Chief PJ and Rose and how much they cared for this community. I felt an obligation to match their effort.”
Looking back on his double-connection to Bayside – his construction work and now management job – he reflects on something he said during an interview for the Globe and Mail article.
“I remember telling you on that cold day that I was helping build more than a bridge to Bayside – it was a bridge to Paqtnkek’s future. Now here we are today. And I’m so proud to be a part of it.”