Proponents of what could become the first workforce accommodation development on the North Coast came before Port Edward council on Aug. 11 to outlines plans for the North Coast Open Camp.
“It’s a smaller, more boutique type of offering with approximately 200 beds in a small footprint … we’re looking to create a small, aesthetically pleasing development to spearhead some of the work that will be happening, hopefully in the coming months,” explained LandSea Camp Services president Mike Coyne.
“It is essentially a pioneer camp that would stay during the development process of whatever larger camp was here. We would be here for early work and would support the early work undertakings related to the development of LNG or other projects in the area. We work closely with some of the other camp companies and [this camp] will facilitate the work they do.”
Aside from housing workers, Coyne said LandSea aims to give back to the communities in which it operates by creating employment and offering an opportunity for people in the area a chance to develop a career in the hospitality sector.
“The second purpose of the facility is to act as a training facility whereby we would put on a training program for food services and accommodation services for local residents and First Nations that would serve as a stepping stone to the other camp projects in the area … there would be some key staff we employ, such as a manager and executive chef, but we would then look to compliment those individuals with as much local employment as needed,” said Coyne, noting the current proposal would create between 20 and 30 jobs.
“We have a three-week program that has been endorsed down in the Lower Mainland and we have received government funding for the program. It essentially gives anyone who wants to pursue a career in the industry all of their certification with WorkSafe procedures and the knowledge they need to proceed in that career path. We would establish a classroom, a facilitator and do hands-on training on-site.”
The camp would occupy two acres of the Port Edward Logistics Park on the way into town, with access via Wolf Creek Road and workers primarily being shuttled to and from the worksite by buses. Coyne said the camp would be a dry one, meaning no alcohol would be permitted. Amenities in the camp include a 9000 square foot kitchen-dinner-rec (KDR) that houses an open dining room, fitness centre, media room, meeting rooms, and a dedicated area for the Stepping Stones Training and Development Program, in addition to rooms featuring satellite television and high speed wireless Internet.
. The company also plans to level and hydro-seed the existing berm to both improve the aesthetics of the area and create a noise buffer between the camp and the highway.
Council voted to give the go ahead for a three-year temporary use permit for the site on the conditions that the company provide a security bond or letter of credit to ensure the site could be cleaned up should some issue arise, that the project meet the development bylaws of the municipality and that there be consultation with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We’re excited about being here in the community and about possibly being the first on the ground. I think it will be a positive all around,” said Coyne, noting the camp could be operational within 90 days of a final investment decision for projects in the region.