Work on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) project in the Burns Lake area will focus only on pipeline access this year, a company spokesman said.
Speaking to the board of directors of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) on March 21, CGL public affairs manager Kiel Giddens gave an outlook for the project over the near year.
“Our work in 2019 is about getting the access we need to actually begin pipeline construction. There will be no physical pipeline construction in 2019. It’s really about access roads, clearing activities [and] setting up our camps,” he said.
The pipeline project involves eight separate construction sections starting in the Groundbirch area just west of Dawson Creek and running west to Kitimat.
Of those eight, sections four to seven are in the RDBN, and Burns Lake is in section six.
The four regional sections will be built by three pipeline contracting companies: SA Energy, the Macro Spiecapag joint venture and Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction which will build parts six and seven.
The first work crews are scheduled to come into the region in June when the camp at the Vanderhoof airport opens.
“This will support our access road development workers starting in September and our clearing crews which are scheduled to start by November,” Giddens said. “Actual pipeline construction in Section 4 for SA Energy won’t start until the summer of 2020.”
That camp will house about 200 people by the end of the year, increasing to almost 900 in 2020.
“The Lejac camp near Fraser Lake is on reserve lands and will be permitted through Indigenous Services Canada. The workforce will reach approximately 100 this fall and then we’ll get to nearly 700 with the Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture peak winter construction period in 2020 and 2021.”
The 7-Mile Road camp, just north of Tchesinkut Lake will be set up at the end of this year and clearing work will begin next winter, with pipeline construction starting during the 2020-2021 winter.
The Huckleberry camp south of Houston will open in 2020, although some field work in that area will begin in the summer.
The 9A camp will be built for section eight of the pipeline and work has started on an access road to it.
It is expected to accommodate about 120 people later this year.
Work was stopped when First Nations artifacts were said to have been discovered in the area.
“After these archaeological assessments have been completed – which they have now – work is schedule to resume again in the coming weeks here,” Giddens said.
The spokesman also gave details on what the camps will look like and how they’ll function.
Workers in the camps will live in modularized trailer units with separate quarters for men and women.
Catering, housekeeping, potable water and waste removal are the responsibility of camp management.
“We’re not planning at all to rely on local government resources,” said Giddens, adding that medical services will also be provided by the camps’ own paramedics, first aid staff and a roving nurse practitioner.
“This is to avoid the use of local medical services where possible.”
Giddens acknowledged the concerns of some people over large numbers of workers moving into the area, and said the company has found that the camp workers tend to keep to themselves and try to form positive relationships with local communities.
Citing the example of CGL workers in Kitimat, he said some have formed their own men’s hockey league.
“We want to find partnerships that work like that.”
The total value of the pipeline construction contracts is $2.8 billion, including $620 million worth of First Nations contracting, and $21 million in property taxes per year going to the regional districts along the pipeline, Giddens added.