Coastal GasLink is partnering with the District of Vanderhoof to advance the development of a workforce accommodation site at the local airport that will house up to 1,000 women and men during peak construction. Kick-off of site preparation activities began on Monday, Jan. 27. Initial works include snow removal, and the clearing, felling, processing and grinding of wood fibre.
“We’ve always wanted a project like this in our backyard to leave a legacy for our community,” said Gerry Thiessen, Mayor of Vanderhoof. “The Vanderhoof Airport site was first proposed by Vanderhoof back in 2014, and we’re thrilled to be moving forward with a big economic development booster for the community.”
Coastal GasLink has leased the site for the duration of construction and will return it to agricultural use after completion. The partnership includes the donation of an office trailer for future use by the Vanderhoof Airport as a new clubhouse, and investment in the District’s sewage infrastructure.
The workforce accommodation site will be developed and managed by Nak’azdli-Summit, an Indigenous joint-venture company. Local businesses are already contracted to develop this project site, and it is anticipated that the proximity to the community will support strong business and employment opportunities during Coastal GasLink’s construction period. Saik’uz First Nation also has business interests involved in operations for this worker lodging.
Work on this site had been delayed until Coastal GasLink received a temporary non-farm use permit from the B.C. Agricultural Commission. Coastal GasLink provided extensive evidence as to how the project will protect topsoil and future agricultural productivity, while increasing arable land potential on the accommodations site parcel by two-thirds. The Commission has unanimously approved Coastal GasLink’s use of the site, with conditions focused on protecting long term agricultural values.
“Our team has worked collaboratively with the District, and we’re excited to get going on this Lodge site,” said Kiel Giddens, Coastal GasLink Public Affairs Manager based in Prince George. “This is a real case of an opportunity where we’ve found a win-win-win. This not only benefits our project, but it provides real benefits to our Indigenous partners and the community of Vanderhoof.”
It is anticipated that first occupancy will be in June 2020 for the Summer construction season.