Coastal GasLink continues to progress construction across the 670-kilometre project route from Kitimat to Chetwynd, with half of the route now cleared, and more than 1,200 women and men at work - including 350 Indigenous members. The project continues to deliver benefits to Indigenous and local communities, including $825 million in contracts awarded to date to Indigenous and locally-owned businesses along the project route. One of them is Duz Cho Construction.
Based out of Chetwynd, Duz Cho was founded 18 years ago by Chief Harley Chingee for the McLeod Lake Indian Band, a community that signed an agreement with Coastal GasLink.
Today, Duz Cho has about 45 skilled equipment operators supporting Coastal GasLink’s clearing work with almost half of them members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band or other local Indigenous communities.
For many of Duz Cho’s crew, having the opportunity to work on a significant project like Coastal GasLink close to their community means they can spend more time with their families.
For Darren Orr, a Duz Cho equipment operator, that opportunity coupled with the ability to work with his community from the McLeod Lake Indian Band attracted him to the Coastal GasLink Project.
“Being a McLeod Lake band member, I can work for my own people. I work close to home, I get to travel back and forth every day and it’s something I’m not really used to. I usually work away," says Orr.
“There’s a lot of positivity out here, and it’s going to be great,” he adds.
For Jacob Albertson, Duz Cho Construction’s General Manager, it’s about being involved in something important that brings benefits to local families.
“People don’t see what [Coastal GasLink] actually means to all of Canada and families in the north,” said Albertson.
“This work gives us pride, a sense of accomplishment, and a chance to be part of something important. The chance for meaningful work is so valuable. It makes you wake up at 6 a.m. and want to go to work,” added Albertson.
Partnerships such as the one with Duz Cho reflect the many partnerships formed between Coastal GasLink and all 20 First Nations communities along the project’s 670-kilometre right-of-way with which the project has signed agreements. Through these partnerships, Indigenous and local community members have access to jobs, skills training and other economic development opportunities.
“It means a lot to [the community] that Coastal GasLink and its partners are coming in to invest in the community, not just build a pipeline. Duz Cho’s theme is making footprints that our children will be proud to walk in, and we see Coastal GasLink living that out too. They’re here to leave their mark in a positive way,” said Albertson.