By Malcolm Baxter, Kitimat Northern Sentinel
There were lots of smiles at Kitimat Valley Institute last Wednesday afternoon, especially on the faces of the representatives of the companies that had just landed a couple of lucrative contracts.
The Rio Tinto Alcan event saw the signing of contracts covering the building of the construction camp for the smelter modernisation project and the tear down and clean up of potlines 7 and 8 and some buildings located in the proximity.
Michel Lamarre, RTA’s project director for KMP, said the two major contracts not only marked the beginning of the Spring construction season, they also signalled “the project is progressing at a faster pace every day.”
And to reinforce his upbeat message, Lamarre added, “This is really good news.”
The contract for the construction camp went to Atco Structures & Logistics and calls for the eventual provision of 1,500 beds, although this year they will put in only 400-plus to meet the immediate need.
The camp will include recreation facilities, a kitchen, dining room, meeting rooms, internet service and laundry.
Harry Wilmot, president and CEO of Atco, was supposed to be on hand for the signing but mechanical problems forced his plane from Calgary to turn back soon after takeoff.
However, in a release he said the modular units, which have been designed to meet Kitimat’s snow loads, would be built at ATCO’s plant in Calgary.
He added, “As part of our commitment to working with the local community, ATCO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Haisla Nation that will result in direct benefits for the Haisla community.”
The demolition and clean up of Lines 7 and 8 went to a joint venture partnership between Quantum Murray and NW Demolition Canada.
NW Demolition’s Richard Wayper drew the contrast between Kitimat and the kind of environment their job usually took them. “This is absolutely beautiful.”
Steve Custeau of Quantum Murray made a point of saying that local hire and training was a big part of their business approach.
Interviewed after the signings, Lamarre declined to put a dollar figure on each contract – that’s been a consistent with RTA where the project is concerned – but added the total value of the two was “a significant portion” of the $300 million announced last year.
He said he expected 400-450 workers to be on site this year.
Given his “categoric” confirmation that full board approval would be given this year, the Sentinel asked Lamarre what changes that might mean for construction activity on the site this year.
“There is a certain sequence that needs to be followed…and at the moment we are following the sequence as if we had full project approval,” he replied.
So the results of a board green light this year would be seen in 2012?
“Definitely,” Lamarre said.