Meet the Mayor
February 4, 2015
Reporting on a January 19 meeting with BC Hydro on its Site C Clean Energy Project and the implications it holds for Chetwynd and all of us who live here. There are slightly different nuances on some of the aspects of the project as they apply to us. I will try to share them with you as I understand them. Because to build or not to build was never a decision for Chetwynd Council to make, Council’s position of no position on the construction of the dam still holds.
As always, Council’s concern is to achieve equal opportunity of access to employment for all Chetwynd residents who wish to pursue the benefits the project will afford. Procurement contracts for site preparation and worker accommodation are expected to be awarded in the Spring of 2015 and the main civil works contract a few months later. If you have salable skills that you can use to your advantage in any of these areas you should watch for publication of the names and contact information of the successful bidders and take appropriate action.
With 10,000 person years of work about to commence, don’t be surprised if a few of those years are directed to the people of Chetwynd.
According to my interpretation of BC Hydro’s words, its labour strategy objectives will optimize your access as a skilled and experienced worker to the jobs that fit your skill sets. Local and Aboriginal hiring will be promoted. But be aware that living in Chetwynd does not guarantee you a job at the site. Much depends on the training you have and acquire and the work record you can prove. In other words, a strongly demonstrated work history is essential. As Council, we can only endeavour to ensure that Chetwynd residents get that coveted equal opportunity. The responsibility is yours to get the job.
I was interested in Hydro’s breakdown of the distribution of jobs. By far the bulk of the jobs, at 34% and 31% respectively, will go to heavy equipment operators (actual equipment operators, heavy duty mechanics, and welders) and the trades. Construction trades helpers and labourers (15%) form the next largest group with truck drivers (11%) and the mysterious other (9%) completing the complement of those who will ultimately, and for a long time, alter the flow patterns the mighty Peace.
The trades can be further broken out: carpenters (32%), ironworkers (20%), and electricians (19%) will be most prominent among the trades people. The remainder of the trades, in descending order of numbers include machinists and millwrights, building workers, cement workers and masons, boiler makers, painters, plumbers, and pipefitters.
That’s an impressive range of skill sets. Beginning in year one with 800+ jobs available and peaking in year five at over 2060 workers on site, I suggest that Chetwynd will be filling a respectable number of those jobs. The responsibility is now yours to see that you are ready to take advantage of the opportunities that come.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor