How will Kitimat house thousands of workers for new LNG plant?

How will Kitimat house thousands of workers for new LNG plant?

Acknowledges there’ll be problems

LNG Canada has laid out a detailed plan to buffer as much as possible housing impacts on residents now that the green light has been given to its multi-billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat.

In documents filed with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office that form part of the environmental certificate received for the project, the company acknowledges the potential, rated as “high” in the documents, for reduced housing availability and increases for renters as well as higher home purchase prices.

But it says its Kitimat work camps, which will house at least 4,500 non-resident workers with a potential jump to 7,000, are at the heart of its plan avoid local accommodation disruption during the estimated five year construction and commissioning phase of the project.

“With few exceptions,” the company says in its documents, non-resident workers will be required to live in the camps.

The level of control over LNG Canada’s own direct and indirect housing impact will extend to refusing to provide living out allowances to non-resident workers “unless a benefit can be shown to the local community without creating an impact,” the documents add.

READ MORE: LNG can help B.C. prepare for future energy sources, prof says

That’s already happened, LNG Canada employees told a Sept. 20 luncheon in Terrace hosted by the Real Estate Institute of BC to discuss anticipated real estate and general housing impacts.

LNG Canada real estate manager Ilyas Begaliyev, who spoke at the luncheon, had already moved to “quash” a living out proposal by a sub-contractor, said LNG Canada community advisor Ruth Sulentich.

What LNG Canada wants to avoid, she said, were the prospects of rented out over-crowded basement accommodations with multiple pick up trucks parked on residential streets.

Specific to Terrace, Begaliyev also said minimizing the number of non-resident workers in and around the city will also reduce the amount of highway traffic between Terrace and Kitimat.

The overall objective, LNG Canada says, is to “reduce the potential for the project workforce displacing local residents from using temporary accommodations or accessing rental opportunities or home ownership.”

That’s in reference to avoiding situations as to what happened in Fort McMurray when mass influxes of workers and families took place without a housing management plan, resulting in super-charged housing prices.

LNG Canada real estate manager Ilyas Begaliyev

Companies in Fort McMurray “threw money into an already-heated market” by assisting employees with housing assistance in an effort to assist which backfired into making the situation even worse, said Begaliyev at the Sept. 20 Terrace luncheon.

“We won’t be doing that again,” he noted.

And it’s also to avoid the impact of previous large-scale projects in Kitimat and in Terrace which featured not only increases in housing costs but in “renovictions” where landlords issued eviction notices to existing tenants so they could then rent out accommodations at much higher prices.

VIDEO: Horgan, Trudeau speak on $40B LNG Canada investment in Kitimat

To track housing impacts and pressures on social services, recreation and other amenities, LNG Canada has formed what it calls Social Management Roundtables where its representatives and those from the provincial government, local governments and various social service and other agencies will sit regularly to discuss problems and find solutions.

As far as housing for LNG Canada’s permanent employees in Kitimat, the company says it will reduce the potential impact on affordable housing for residents by “working with developers and the District of Kitimat to incent apartments, condos and/or single-family houses in Kitimat to accommodate potential project staff and their families…”

Begaliyev estimated LNG Canada would need slightly more than 90 housing units for its own direct needs for its plant’s operational phase.

LNG Canada estimates there’ll be a permanent workforce of anywhere between 400 and 800 people.

That’ll replace to some extent the 500 jobs lost through attrition and other measures because Rio Tinto’s modernized smelter requires fewer workers and the 535 direct jobs lost when West Fraser closed its Eurocan paper mill in early 2010.

Potential rent increases also came up for discussion at the Sept. 20 luncheon with audience members commenting on the number of empty multi-family units and single-family residences in Kitimat.

Kitimat realtor Graham Pitzel, a second speaker at the Terrace luncheon who provided a historical and current perspective on real estate prices, said owners of empty units could very well be waiting for a LNG Canada announcement.

That’s because if they are renting out units now, they are limited as to the dollar amount of increases they can charge, he said.

But if demand soars for accommodation, landlords can put their units on the market at much higher prices than current rates, Pitzel added.

In a follow up email, Pitzel said he didn’t have a lot of data pointing explicitly to that scenario for multi-family units.

“For the single family homes, I have spoken to many owners that do in fact keep them empty just in case a higher rental rate can be realized in the near future,” he said.

“Rent rate increases are just one of the many changes our town is going to face, along with increased property values for owners to be able to draw equity from for home improvements to make our town look even better,” Pitzel added.

Contact the newsroom

haislaHot Propertykitamaat villagekitimatLNGlng canadarealtor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan’s Knights of Columbus hand out cheques to a slew of deserving organizations in an online event Nov. 8, 2020. (Submitted)
Duncan Knights of Columbus hand cheques to lucky 13 in virtual event

Another historic first for the Knights was to have two area mayors join the presentation

Changes to the holidays due to COVID-19 will be a challenge for people with dementia. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)
Webinars aim to help those with dementia approach holidays

“The holidays can present difficulties for people living with dementia for a multitude of reasons”

Theresa Bodger at the Duncan Curling Club, displaying the championship trophy and a photo of her mom, Georgina Falt. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Cowichan Alzheimer’s fundraiser surpasses $65,000 since inception

Courier editor and his wife overwhelmed by continued support

“Jeff Abbott sinks in a mass of mud where a tributary to Coon Creek earlier ran. The creek supplies 60 families in Youbou with drinking water.” (Lake News, Nov. 19, 1980)
Flashback: Winter tires, winter weather, watershed watch

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan

Duncan’s Callum Davison is up for a bursary from the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. (Submitted)
Duncan golfer Callum Davison up for national bursary

20-year-old finished fifth in Canada Life Series this summer

Numuch Keitlah, left, and Jake Thomas, centre, participate in a Coastal Nations search and rescue exercise off the coast of Vancouver Island in this undated handout photo. The recently operational Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary has more than 50 members from five Indigenous territories who are trained in marine search and rescue. They are on call day and night to respond to emergencies along some of B.C.’s most rugged and remote coastal areas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Jordan Wilson *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Canada’s first Indigenous-led coast guard auxiliary patrols B.C.’s rugged coast

Auxiliary is part of the feds’ $1.5 billion plan to improve marine safety and protect the environment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Randy Bell. (File photo)
Former northern B.C. mayoral candidate arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in Smithers

James Corden on the Late Late Show talking about BC Ferries on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Screenshot)
‘You’ll see it when you see it’: BC Ferries mask graphic gains James Corden’s attention

Turns out, James Corden fans were just as quick as B.C. social media users to pick up on the dual imagery

Most Read