By Andru McCracken

Ali Hounsell, Senior Strategic Advisor and Manager Communications for Trans Mountain said that workers associated with the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project will be staying at a self-contained camp in Valemount, after all.

Tourism Valemount has been actively campaigning Trans Mountain to divert some workers to local accommodations, they recently undertook a survey to determine how many rooms were available to Trans Mountain and the measures they were taking to mitigate threats posed by the pandemic.

Hounsell said a work camp, currently under construction in the Valemount Industrial Park, will be ready to go in early July and that’s where workers will stay.

“The site is going to be self-sustaining; it includes laundry, dining, and health services,” she said.

Hounsell said that the camp will follow guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer to counter the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The camp will provide for all the needs of the workers including transportation.

During consultation, neighbours raised issues around water, sewage, internet and transportation and the company worked to mitigate those issues.

“All of those things were factored into the planning. We are continuing to work closely with the community,” she said.

There may be smaller opportunities for local accommodations.

“There are people like me that might come up for meetings or shorter term stays that are associated with the work as well and would utilize local accommodation,” she said. “If you are there for any amount of time, the idea is that you will be in those camp communities.”

She said to date many workers have been using local accommodation, but that Valemount doesn’t have the number of rooms required to absorb their workforce when they begin en masse.

“When we build that camp community we are going to have the workforce housed there.”

Tourism Valemount did not immediately respond to our request for an interview.

Hounsell said workers may stimulate the economy in unexpected ways.

“If they need new boots they can spend money on goods and services in town,” she said.