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VIDEO and story: Work camp provides clean and comfortable experience for AltaGas employees

The dorms in the dry camp resemble hotel rooms
Joseph Jack / The Northern View The NorthCoast workforce camp, operated by LandSea Camp Services provides a home away from home for employees of the AltaGas Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal currently being constructed. The kitchen, dining and recreation facility shown houses a kitchen, two mudrooms, conference room, a game and TV room.

For some, the thought of a work camp brings to mind tight quarters with little more to offer than a place to eat and a place to sleep.

Those thoughts are quickly put aside when you visit the North Coast workforce camp, run by LandSea Camp Services in support of the AltaGas Ridley Island propane export terminal being constructed near Port Edward.

The camp, which was built over a three month period in the winter, serves as a home away from home for AltaGas employees working at the terminal, as well as some LandSea staff.

“[It was] a very wet, rainy winter season,” said Michael Allen, site manager at the camp.

The camp’s individual buildings, which can hold a maximum of 214 workers, are made in Canada and transported to the site and assembled, like lego blocks, Allen explained.

Currently there are seven LandSea staff supporting the camp in janitorial, food service and other services with the ability to increase that number to 11, when the camp is at full capacity.

“We’re going to be going up to 11 [staff] very shortly to accommodate the needs of the project and the facilities,” Allen said, adding that when that happens, seven of the 11 staff will be from the area.

LandSea staff can work a two weeks in, one week out rotation or a three week rotation. Either way, they are picked up and dropped off at the beginning of their work rotation. Local staff can travel in and out of the worksite daily, which is 16km south of Prince Rupert on Wolf Creek Road.

“There’s the opportunity for people in the area who have difficulty coming into work to stay here overnight,” Allen said.

The camp itself is fenced with a security checkpoint as you enter, with designated outdoor smoking areas and signs reminding employees that no drugs or alcohol are permitted on site.

“We have an absolute zero tolerance for drug and alcohol on site,” Allen said.

As you enter the main doorway to the kitchen, dining and recreational facility, there are two mud rooms where employees are required to remove their dirty work gear before they can enter the dining facility.

Two hot meals are provided a day (breakfast and dinner) and sandwiches, other food and snacks are provided for employees to take a bag lunch to the work site.

Just outside the dining facility are a TV room, conference room and a second TV room, which also serves as a games room, complete with a ping pong table, foosball table and poker table complete with chips.

There are five dorms lettered A through E which all stem from a main hallway that has an employee gym at the far end.

Dorm A serves as the executive dorm, complete with 38 rooms, each with their own bathroom, and the four other wings (with 44 units each) are called “Jack and Jill” dorms that have a shared bathroom between two separate rooms. It’s possible for another dorm to be added to the site if necessary.

Regardless of which dorm, which are more like hotel rooms, employees stay in, each unit has a sink, television, climate control and Wi-Fi and the rooms are maintained by LandSea staff.

LandSea has a two-year contract to support the AltaGas project and after the contract is over, there is potential for further project support.

“There’s opportunity for LandSea to stick around and help with the project service side of things,” Allen said.

The Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal is anticipated to be the first propane export facility off the West Coast of Canada and AltaGas expects it to be in service by the first quarter of 2019.