Recently trained workers find employment opportunity in Burns Lake

Two other major construction projects in Burns Lake have had greater success in attracting Burns Lake contractor and worker interest.

While local contractors may not have shown tremendous interest in bidding on tenders associated with the multi-use facility expansion of the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena (see Lakes District News Sept. 25, 2013), the two other major construction projects in Burns Lake have had greater success in attracting Burns Lake contractor and worker interest.

The Babine Forest Products sawmill rebuild is being managed by Hampton Affiliates without the extra cost of general contractor. Steve Zika, Hampton Affiliates chief executive officer, reports that they have been able to use local contractors for plumbing, small carpentry, and small electrical projects.

He said they’ve also been able to use local contractors for pouring concrete foundations, as well as six local drivers for excavation, but Hampton had to look elsewhere for the mechanical and electrical work.

“The biggest contractors came from Prince George and around the province due to their capacity and expertise,” Zika added.

Zika said it was difficult to track whether or not former employees found work with local contractors they’ve hired, but Hampton was able to hire 29 former Babine sawmill employees for work at either the Decker Lake sawmill or on the site of the Babine mill rebuild.

“The mill is still on schedule for early next year,” Zika said. “We are hoping for a late snowfall this year.”

Construction of the new Lakes District Hospital is being managed by PCL Contractors of Vancouver.

When awarded the contract to build the hospital last year, Sean Brock, PCL vice president and district manager for the west, assured residents of Burns Lake gathered at the Burns Lake Heritage Centre for the official unveiling of the hospital build plans, said PCL would strive to hire has much local labour as possible.

The hospital build is still in early stages of construction. The foundation is currently being poured, and most of the concrete-forming work is being handled by PCL’s own workforce.

“Burns Lake companies Radley Contracting Ltd.

and The Concrete Man have been awarded contracts for the bulk excavation works and concrete supply respectively, and are currently working on the project,” Brock said.

Wayne Mardsen, the PCL field personnel advisor for the Burns Lake project, reports that they have been able to form their crew almost entirely from available workers in Burns Lake.

“About 30 people are working 14 days on, seven days off,” Mardsen explained. “That means 24 workers on site most days. The majority are local.”

Seventeen of those workers are from Burns Lake, ten from around the area, and few are long-term PCL employees.

A lot of the hiring was directly from training programs made possible through the co-operative efforts College of New Caledonia, Work BC, the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation, and Thompson Rivers University.

“We don’t necessarily look for people already skilled,” Mardsen said. “We look for great energy, great spirit and great attitude.”

Local suppliers Grant Conlon Trucking is handling sanitation and Pine Ridge Modular Homes supplied the PCL site construction office.

Mechanical and electrical work where part of the original bid package and so are not up for tender, but much upcoming work will be available to bid on.

“Currently about half of the sub-contract work is out for tender or awarded,” Brock said. “These packages include the structure and the envelope components of the building. Tenders for finishing subcontracts and building equipment will begin in October.”