Where will all the construction workers go?

In the next two years, five projects totalling $1.582 billion are expected to either be under construction or completed.

Forget about $34 billion in LNG projects potentially on the horizon, in the next two years, five projects totalling $1.582 billion are expected to either be under construction or completed.

The Ridley Terminals Expansion is underway as is the Pinnacle Westview Wood Pellet Terminal and the Ridley Island Road, Rail, Utility Corridor.

Next on the agenda is the Fairview Terminal Expansion and the Canpotex Export Terminal.

And with these projects come workers.

The inevitable influx of new-to-Prince Rupert workers has several proponents of these projects scrambling to find accommodations.

While numbers vary from in the hundreds well into the thousands, for now, companies are quietly behind the scenes attempting to secure living accommodations for these incoming workers.

Prince Rupert hotels appear to be Phase 1.

Jack Payne, owner of the Pacific Inn, Inn on the Harbour and Totem Lodge,  confirmed speculation that a number of Prince Rupert hotels have been asked to submit proposals and said he has offered a portion of his rooms.

Payne said a contractor for Canpotex, K2 Joint Venture, is looking for more than 200 rooms in a combination of Prince Rupert hotels that would begin in August.  The total number of hotel rooms available in Prince Rupert is slightly more than 700.

Speculation also has been swirling around the Rupert Hotel, which reportedly is either for sale or ready to lease all its rooms.

West Coast Hospitality, the company which owns the Rupert Hotel, refused to confirm or deny the rumours.

“We are working with various construction companies but the negotiations are ongoing,” Craig Briere, West Coast Hospitality president and CEO said. [West Coast Hospitality] cannot provide further comment at this time.”

When asked if the Rupert Hotel was up for sale, Briere said “not at this point”.

“It’s the same ownership in place since we bought the hotel six or seven years ago. Nothing has changed,” he said.

Randall McQueen, manager of the Rupert Hotel, did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Prince Rupert Northern View also contacted Canpotex Manager of Corporate Services, Leah Laxdal, about the topic, who said the company could not comment at the moment.

Prince Rupert Mayor Jack Mussallem also could not give any definitive answers for housing the inevitable influx of workers.

“There will be a variety of possibilities. There’s apartments, suites, townhouses, hotel rooms and there’s also consideration for camps,” he said.

“It’s hard to say without looking at the type of development, the method of construction and how many people will be needed at the site at one time.”