A Refreshing Response – The National Capital Commission Does the Right Thing for Lemonade Kids
Over the years Ottawa Life Magazine writers have been critical of the NCC on many occasions. So we were a little indignant (like everyone else) when we heard the news this past weekend that that seven-year-old Eliza Andrews and her five-year-old sister Adela’s lemonade stand was shut down by what appeared to be an overzealous NCC officer because they didn’t have a permit.
“We understood that it was NCC property,” said father Kurtis Andrews, who built the lemonade stand to teach his daughters some real world business skills. “But we figured a kids’ lemonade stand wouldn’t raise a bunch of fuss, and no one would probably make a big deal about it.”
It appears that the NCC management team was also not impressed and probably had a ‘yikes’ moment upon hearing about this in the press.
On Monday morning the girls and their dad were invited to NCC headquarters to talk about bringing the lemonade stand back – with the proper documentation.
“They gave us the royal treatment,” said Mr. Andrews. “We put in an application for a permit, and it sounds like they’ll be expediting whatever process is required so we can set up next Sunday for the next bike day.”
The NCC released a statement Monday morning, apologizing to the family and saying that it reviewed the situation with the junior conservation officer on duty.
The statement said that the officer “acted in good faith” but notes that the NCC wants to move forward animating the shoreline and supporting “young entrepreneurs going forward.”
“We believe the situation could have been handled differently,” read the statement. Bravo to the NCC for dealing with what had quickly become a sour national news story. Every organization makes mistakes and we’ve all seen overzealous employees who can sometimes lose perspective. Everyone should give the NCC a thumbs up for their reaction to this story and for the way they’ve handled it. The junior NCC officer probably learned a lesson about judgement that should serve them well in their future duties, and the NCC has turned a negative thing into a very positive outcome for all concerned. Whoever quarterbacked that process at the NCC should get a big pat on the back…..or at least a nice glass of lemonade!