Lloyd Talbot works as a city planner in Winnipeg, where he uses mediation largely to unite different communities of people, as well as to make peace between the natural environment and human life. In addition, he works with the Winnipeg-Charleswood Rotary Club, through which he is able to undertake mediation projects that further employ his ability to bring communities together.
An Eclectic Background
Lloyd lived in a variety of different communities growing up, which allowed him to experience the realities of a number of different lifestyles and see the merits in each one. He lived in the Toronto-Hamilton area for much of his childhood, which exposed him to a more urban setting that housed a number of different ethnic and cultural groups. From there, he moved to Dauphin, Manitoba, a small town with a more rural feel. Despite its size, though, Dauphin was home to different cultural groups as well. Lloyd specifically mentioned the Anglo-Scottish population and the Ukrainian population of the town, who were able to coexist peacefully and supportively despite their differences. Being able to witness feats like this led Lloyd into city planning and mediation, as he has learned that “there are always cultural conflicts and there are ways of bringing people together, and that’s really what in my career as a planner and mediator I have tried to do.”
Planning and Mediation
As a city planner, Lloyd is constantly mediating when it comes to development policy. His work has taken place mainly in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where indigenous and cultural groups have been known to conflict. Specifically, Lloyd has worked with Hutterite populations in Western Canada, an Anabaptist group that lives communally. These populations often migrate to communities that are largely dominated by single-family units and farmers, who might see the Hutterite colonies as threatening to their livelihoods. As part of a Cabinet Committee on Hutterites, Lloyd received proposals from the colonies and acted as a mediating party between the Hutterites and the municipalities to ensure that each party felt their needs were being met. Lloyd was able to present the mutual benefits of cooperation between the two groups, and ensure that both parties are clear on what the other can offer. In addition, Lloyd has worked with indigenous communities and their municipalities to return the land to the communities without a monetary loss to the municipalities, as indigenous land is not taxed. To do this, Lloyd acts as a mediating force between the communities, municipalities, and federal government to come to an agreement that will suit all parties. Lloyd also uses his work as a planner to safeguard the natural environment: “My philosophy has been ‘design with nature,’ but sometimes that gets in the road of developers’ interests and so on when you’re protecting the environment and working to create a build environment for people.” In this way, he mediates not only between groups of people but also between people and nature.
Lloyd became interested in MBBI through his work as President of the Winnipeg-Charleswood Rotary Club. In this role, he was able to travel to Atlanta to attend the International Rotary Conference, where MBBI had a booth. At this event, Lloyd connected with MBBI staff and eventually became involved with the organization. He continues to be part of the Rotary Club, focusing on indigenous communities in Winnipeg. The Club supports the Bear Clan, a group comprised of indigenous people who work in their communities to resolve conflicts and promote peace. Lloyd especially appreciates MBBI’s current commitment to anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, as these are areas that he has long had a great interest in. He has been participating in anti-racism workshops led by Becky Sasakamoose-Kuffner in Saskatoon, who outlines what racism is and how it can be addressed, as well as how to create personal and professional relationships with different communities. In addition, Lloyd is on the Professional Standards Board of the Canadian Institute of Planners, which is working through discussions on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion within the planning profession.
Mediating with Nature
Lloyd’s work with the Rotary Club has also led to additional adventures in mediation. Recently, the Club has undertaken mediation efforts between a group of people who want to work to preserve the Assiniboine Forest in Winnipeg and a group of people who wish not to act. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the forest has been getting increased use, which has taken a toll on the natural environment. Some citizens hope to take action to implement a conservation effort for the forest, while others believe it should be left as it is. Thus, the Rotary Club is acting as “Stewards of the Forest,” and mediating between the two conflicting groups. Lloyd believes that mediation is a very constructive tactic in dealing with community conflicts such as this one. As can be seen through his work, communities have the potential to live harmoniously, and mediation can be a step in making that possible.
Article by Tess Hargarten, MBBI Writer