CGL pipeline 62 per cent done, says TC Energy spokesperson

Thousands of workers to return to region in late May, with Indigenous contractors working on section seven

TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline is about 62 per cent complete, a company spokesperson said on April 28.

Speaking remotely to a meeting of directors of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN), Kiel Giddens, public affairs manager with TC Energy said the company is about to gear up for its summer work season in the region.

“Post-spring break up, you’re going to see that gradual increase to get well over 5,000 workers again by (September). The end of May is when you will start to see workers returning to the region,” he said.

The workforce reached its peak for 2021 when a total of 5,091 workers were employed last September across the project, Giddens added.

The 670-kilometre liquified natural gas pipeline is planned to run from Groundbirch in northeast British Columbia to Kitimat.

Giddens outlined some other highlights of the project for the region project in 2022.

O.J. Pipelines has partnered with Indigenous-led companies from the Skin Tyee, Wet’suwet’en and Witset First Nations to build section seven of the pipeline, which along with section six will pass south of Burns Lake and Houston.

“O.J. pipelines has been busy over the past 30 days with the majority of their time being focused on the reclamation and cleanup activities and I’m pleased to share that these cleanup activities were completed at the end of last week,” Giddens said.

Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction will still be responsible for building 115 kms of section six of the pipeline. So far it has constructed 38 km of pipe and expects to complete the rest by the end of the year. Reclamation and other final activities are scheduled for early 2023.

As more parts of the pipeline are put into the ground, property taxes are triggered and Giddens said he estimates about $21 million worth of tax payments will go to local governments and hospital and school districts.

However, some RDBN directors raised issues with the CGL project.

Chris Newell, director for Electoral Area G, noted that TC’s fibre internet project in the Buck Flats Road area has made little progress.

“These legacy projects aren’t always a win-win and that’s how I see the Buck Flats fibre internet project. Having internet access at that site would be beneficial for you and I’d like to really express how beneficial fibre internet would be for the Buck Flats (which) your pipeline goes right through,” he said.

Giddens said in response that the company appreciates the concern over connectivity in the Buck Flats area but that conversations were ongoing on the issue.

Smithers mayor Gladys Atrill asked about possible impacts on communities in the region due to labour shortages.

Giddens acknowledged the difficulties of labour shortages, and said that while the project prioritizes local workers it would sometimes be necessary to bring in labour from outside the region.

“(That’s why) I mentioned our need to bring in another contractor to be able to mobilize labour in section seven,” he said. “So, very, very challenging times. We’re competing for labour with some of the other big projects like the TMX project. But we rely on union labour (and) they’ll be called from the union list. So across B.C. is first and then they’ll go to their locals in Alberta and elsewhere.”