Up to 2,500 women and men will work to safely build the Coastal GasLink project over the four-year construction period.
Many of these workers are from local and Indigenous communities along the project route. People are our most valuable asset on the project and every job matters — from pipe fitters and welders who will assemble the pipeline, to caterers who will feed the workers, and the environmental monitors who will ensure all regulatory commitments are upheld and the local environment is protected, among many other important jobs.
Edward Tom is a member of Coastal GasLink’s Construction Monitoring and Community Liaison Program. The program provides opportunities for Indigenous community members to participate in construction within their traditional territory for the purposes of observing, recording and reporting on implementation of construction activities to their communities.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Coastal GasLink project.
My name is Edward. I’m a Gitdumden member. I’ve been out here for three years. I’m here representing my people as a Construction Monitor and a Community Liaison. I observe everything going on construction-wise and document everything I see. I’ve got 25 years experience, and you can’t fool me.
Why did you want to work on the Coastal GasLink project?
They are the first-ever industry that included us in the planning, the executing of everything that is going on, and we are a major part of it. We are working alongside them. For example, today we are working on putting in a 60-foot bridge and it’s going right over a creek and it’s also going over a cultural trail and we’re doing that to preserve the trail. It’s very important to our people, to preserve these culturally-modified trees and traditional trees; it means a lot to us.
What goes through your mind when you walk through these lands?
It shows that my ancestors, they were here. They were trapping, they were hunting beaver and they were just trying to live. They were trying to sustain; they were trying to build a better life for themselves and for their family. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of this project. It’s one thing to have a life. It’s another to have a high quality of life.
How is your work and this project important to your community?
It means a lot to me to be here, representing my people. And it’s very important to our people. The Project is 670-kilometres long, and we Wet’suwet’ens have 120-kilometres of it to do, and we’re going to do it efficiently, safely, environmentally-friendly, and culturally-sensitively.
What do you look forward to when you go to work?
The people. It’s great — I love it. I spend more time with these people that I do my own family. Well, I guess they are my family now.