Coastal GasLink (CGL), in partnership with TC Energy (TCE), is three-quarters complete their natural gas pipeline from the Wild Lake Compressor Station near Dawson Creek to LNG Canada’s liquid natural gas shipping facility at Kitimat.
A sizable stretch of that 670 km conduit is being built through Burns Lake in stages CGL calls Section 5 (which parallels about Fort Fraser to about the middle of Francois Lake) and Section 6 (connecting to Section 7 at approximately Parrott Lakes, south of Houston).
Recently, as part of their government-mandated quarterly reports, CGL presented their latest progress outlook to both the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako and the Village of Burns Lake.
The report outlines that Section 5’s prime contractor since early 2022 is Nadleh-Macro, a joint venture between Fort St. John-based Macro Pipelines and the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, and those workers’ primary residence is Little Rock Lake Lodge.
The prime contractor company for Section 6 since June is Michels Canada, and those workers are primarily housed at 7 Mile Lodge.
Some of the highlights of the past quarter, for those two sections, include tunneling at the trenchless crossings of Fraser Cliff and Stern Creek, completing the trenchless crossings at Ormond Creek and at a site by Highway 16 and CN Rail, getting a great deal of pipe placed along the route for welding into place, and more.
Sixty per cent of Section 5’s pipe is installed, with about 420 current workers; while Section 6 has about 580 workers installing the remaining 64 per cent of their segment.
A portion of Section 7 also falls in the Lakes District region, under prime contractor O.J. Pipelines, involved since March, with more than 1,000 workers housed primarily at Huckleberry Lodge. It is a partnership between Alberta-based O.J. Pipelines with companies from three area First Nations – Skin Tyee, Wet’suwet’en and Witset – with Bothar Inc. leading the Morice River micro-tunnel work.
With the conclusion of many construction elements, and more soon to finish, CGL is turning attention to those workforce affects.
“One of the initiatives we have undertaken is the creation of a position to assist workers who have been laid off because their part of the project was done,” said Ian McLeod, senior community and socioeconomic advisor. “This helps move people to a different job within the project, sometimes to different projects or employers, and sometimes into training.”
CGL and TCE have relationships with all post-secondary institutions of the region, and training organizations as well. Since 2019, CGL has funded 615 scholarships and bursaries and TCE issued more than 100. In 2021, CGL had more than 120 apprentices active on the project.
A small contingent of workers are refugees from the war in Ukraine.
“It was heartwarming to learn that Coastal GasLink has played a role to help these workers make the transition into Canada after fleeing their home country,” said Tanner Moulton, Coastal GasLink’s public affairs advisor.
The project has always needed a significant number of import workers, with local employees peaking at about 18 per cent of the overall labour pool and currently the local segment is at about 13.5 per cent. There aren’t fewer local bodies in the project’s workforce, said McLeod, the smaller demographic is a reflection of an overall larger construction team.
Within the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, McLeod reported, the overall investment so far by primary contractors through the subcontractors is about $276-million since 2019, including individuals’ wages, money spent into local businesses, and joint venture revenues.