There has been an increase in workers staying at the 7 Mile Lodge near Burns Lake. (Lakes District News file photo)

There has been an increase in workers staying at the 7 Mile Lodge near Burns Lake. (Lakes District News file photo)

Coastal GasLink ramps up work post-Spring thaw

Summer construction will see increased workforce numbers

Coastal GasLink (CGL) is ramping up its pipeline work and is expected to reach its peak workforce in the coming months, according to a representative of the company.

In a council meeting last week, Kiel Giddons, CGL’s public affairs manager, presented the company’s upcoming workforce numbers and plans with the mayor and the council.

“We want to provide an update on where we are at with our summer construction season so the community knows what to expect,” said Gibbons.

Between this year’s industrial projects’ workforce limits from the provincial health authority and later the spring thaw, Gibbons noted that the pipeline company was impacted by this and it had the effect of really restricting the workforce and effectively haulting construction in the first several months of the year.

“In February and March we reached 2,700 workers just ahead of Spring breakup and then had reduced numbers. Now that the workforce limitations are off and spring breakup is done, we have begun re-mobilizing workforce in the last two weeks,” he said.

The coming weeks and months will see ramped up workforce. At the end of May, there were 238 workers at the 7 Mile Lodge for section 6, from south of Burns Lake to south of Houston. As of June 13, the numbers have gone up to 360 workers and by peak the lodge is expected to get 580 workers.

The Little Rock Lake Lodge for section 5 from north of Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake, just reopened last week and had about 25 folks staying there but by fall that lodge would get about the same numbers as 7 Mile Lodge, of 580 workers.

As of the June 18 update from the company, the May numbers at the Huckleberry Lodge for section 7 between south of Houston to north of Morice Lake, had 129 workers. Gibbons said that the lodge won’t be able to get into full capacity for a few weeks and mid-July is really when the mainline crew will return and the peak will be achieved in August and September.

The company is expecting a peak number of 4,000 workers across the 670 kilomteres pipeline this year, which is double the last year.

“We made real progress last year. In spite of the global pandemic last year, we safely re-mobilized our workers and by the end of the year we had installed 125 kilometres pipe across the route,” said Gibbons. Earlier in April, the company also completed 692 kilometres of pipe along the entire pipeline route.

The company has also manager to keep the virus at bay, with testing on sites, vaccination drives, there haven’t been COVID cases on the company’s sites in a long time, according to Gibbons. The company has also added Rapid Antigen Diagnostic testing to help prevent spread of the virus.

“There is no manual how to build a pipeline in pandemic but we continuously adapt our plans to protect workers, their families and of course the communities,” he said.

Coastal GasLink