Mayor Joanne Monaghan

PTI Group breaks ground on Kitimat facility

PTI Group has broken ground on a planned workforce accommodation facility.

The head of PTI Group is looking forward to the eventual construction of their work lodge in Kitimat’s Strawberry Meadows.

CEO Ron Green spoke to reporters shortly before a ceremonial groundbreaking event at their cleared site, which will make way for a temporary worker living facility which may eventually hold over 2,000 beds.

He said the company was really put to task by the local council to ensure they live up to the company’s commitments in building their facility, which had initially been met with vocal concern from the community, particularly people who live in that neighbourhood.

“Here we get to participate with the community,” said Green. “We’re intimate, with the proximity that we have. We can help drive some economic value.”

To that he referred specifically to the fact that PTI facilities typically have their own shops, for instance, but that’s in places where they are far removed from a municipal boundary.

Given their location essentially right next door to the downtown he said people staying in the lodge will have the opportunity to shop at local stores.

“The merchants, hopefully, will be able to benefit to that approach to business.”

He said construction of capacity in the lodge will depend on client commitments. The company is aiming for 400 rooms to be open by next February, added vice president of business development Sean Crockett.

They are also looking to hire locally for people to work in the camp itself, which he said makes sense to not have employees continually rotating out of town.

He repeated the company’s statements from its earliest stages in Kitimat that a flux of workers coming to Kitimat aren’t being brought in by PTI, they are coming anyway, said Green. The facility, he said, will help manage that spike in persons.

As for concerns about the workers causing problems in the community, he said that guidelines for residents in their facility are strict and people causing trouble are removed, which for an out-of-town worker will mean they’re out of work. He said given that there won’t be trouble.

As for their immediate neighbours, he said there have been no complaints and they get along well with nearby homeowners.