By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor
Many Trans Mountain pipeline workers are currently on break-up, but when they return will pipeline work resume as normal?
Things have been far from normal at the pipeline over the past two months: living-out allowances suspended, hundreds laid off or transferred. It appeared as though a deluge of rentals were suddenly available—albeit at pipeline prices.
But one thing that is still (almost) normal is the number of workers in the Valemount area. Despite the swath of supposed layoffs, a spokesperson for Trans Mountain confirmed last week that there were still 1700 workers based in Valemount—only 300 less than February when that number sat at 2,000.
We are far from seeing the end of the impacts from pipeline construction, both good and bad. And it looks like our housing shortage will be with us several more years.
This is both a blessing and a curse: a curse because it’s causing problems for people searching for housing—some people are even getting evicted by new owners hoping to rent to more lucrative pipeliner tenants. And it’s a blessing because a longer timeline means we still have time to do something about it—to build up our housing stock, and make our town more resilient to better accommodate current and future residents.
Trans Mountain recently announced it expected to attain “mechanical completion” by the 3rd quarter of 2023. That’s a year and a half away, and even after mechanical completion, workers will still be required in the region to handle all the things that come after.
What can be done in two years? With modular and pre-fab homes available, solutions are in sight. Let’s dream big—as individuals, as businesses and as a village.