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Building Trades Council calls for work to be scaled down at Site C

The BC Building Trades Council is calling for work to be scaled down at major construction projects in the province, including Site C.
sitec
Spillway and powerhouse construction at Site C, Sept. 17, 2019.

The BC Building Trades Council is calling for work to be scaled down at major construction projects in the province, including Site C.

LNG Canada has said it will be cutting its workforce by half this week amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19, and will cut its workforce further if necessary. The Council said it wants the same to be done at Site C.

“We are calling for remote-camp megaprojects in B.C. to be tooled down to all but essential or critical-path work,” executive director Andrew Mercier said in a statement. “We need to flatten the curve and alleviate pressure on the rural health care systems.”

There are currently an estimated 3,600 workers on the project.

BC Hydro has said it expects 2020 to be its busiest construction year. Contractors are racing to complete the two tunnels needed to divert the Peace River and begin dam construction this fall and keep the $10.7-billion project on schedule.

BC Hydro says it has been monitoring global COVID-19 developments since January, and measures are in place to limit its potential spread at the construction site and work camp. That includes restrictions on non-essential employee travel and the postponement of non-essential site tours, meetings, and on-site training. The camp gymnasium and theatre have also been closed, and self-serve dining stations have been eliminated. 

“Safety of workers is critical,” said Mercier.

“We need contractors to find those safe ways to keep operating so that critical services ― air travel, health care, construction of vital infrastructure ― can take place and support economic recovery in the months ahead.”

“We realize that there will be a financial consequence to our members, but the health and safety of our workers is paramount. Once we get through this, we have no doubt that construction work will form part of the stimulus to get this province back on its feet—but we are going to need safe and healthy workers for that," Mercier said.

This is a developing story.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.