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Coastal GasLink opens first work camp in northern B.C.

Sukunka Lodge-Coastal GasLink
Sukunka Lodge, near Chetwynd, B.C., will house 700 workers at its peak. (via Coastal GasLink)

Coastal GasLink marked the opening of its first work camp in northern B.C. last month.

Sukunka Lodge opened on Oct. 30, and will house 700 workers when pipeline construction reaches a peak in the region in fall 2020, the company said.

There are 150 workers already staying at the lodge, a partnership between Black Diamond Group and West Moberly First Nation.

“We are honoured to participate (in the project). Sukunka Lodge is a big deal to the West Moberly First Nations and provides an opportunity for employment," West Moberly Chief Roland Willson said in a statement.

“We’ve had a number of people working out here, setting everything up. The revenues that are generated for our community will help us move our nation forward.”

The camp is located 42 kilometres south of Chetwynd, and includes a gym and snackbar.

Coastal GasLink says its work camps will also have on-site security and medical staff, and a zero tolerance policy for possessing or using firearms and illegal drugs, or unacceptable behaviour caused by alcohol or drug use.

Miranda McNeil, a Coastal GasLink construction monitor for the McLeod Lake Indian Band. “This is my first time seeing the gym here. It’s really huge,” she said. “Having cell service and wifi so that I can keep in touch with my family, especially my kids, is really important." (via Coastal GasLink)

There will also be a community advisor at each sites to support an inclusive and respectful workplace culture, and to implement cultural and community-based activities for workers, the company said.

“We’re proud to have a partner that shares our values,” said Frank Hufnagel, director of pipeline implementation for Coastal GasLink.

“At Coastal GasLink, we are committed to creating an extraordinary legacy of safety and respect for communities and the environment. Safety for our workers and the local community is our number one priority, including at our workforce accommodations such as Sukunka Lodge.”

There are three work camps slated for the South Peace region along the first two sections of Coastal GasLink's pipeline route.

A second camp at Chetwynd is planned for an April 2020 opening to house 670 workers, and is a partnership between Saulteau First Nation and Civeo.

A third camp at Headfall is planned for a June 2020 opening to house 65 workers, and is another partnership between West Moberly and Black Diamond.

- Matt Preprost, Alaska Highway News

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