Modular construction company Horizon North has indicated that it will begin work on constructing its camp at the entrance to Kitimat in January 2019.
Alberta-based Horizon North president and CEO Rod Graham said the positive Final Investment Decision announced by LNG Canada on October 1 had cleared the way for the construction of the first phase of the development, a pioneer lodge.
“On April 15 we will be opening the doors. We should have 270 open camp rooms available by then,” said Graham. “Kitimat residents will start seeing the first gear rolling into Kitimat at the beginning of 2019.”
The first phase of the pioneer lodge will see 38 units arriving on the back of trucks at Horizon North’s location adjacent to the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce and welcome centre building.
The units, each with 30 rooms, bathroom facilities and a hallway, are currently sitting in Horizon North’s storage facility in Kamloops. They will be mounted on top of concrete slabs which will be thrown early next year when the weather improves.
He said the units will have an outside fit and finish that will look quite tasteful and will be engineered for Kitimat’s weather, including rain screens and snow roofs.
He said Horizon North had made a substantial investment in the Kitimat site, which once complete, will be a showcase for modular construction.
“We have invested $22 million for site and civil construction to date before we have any gear on that site before we’ve even generated a dime of revenue,” said Graham. “This is a considerable investment into the District of Kitimat without any revenue to date.”
The investment includes the purchase of the land, civil works and site improvements – the site is fully serviced.
“We will make sure there is a nice fit and finish. It will look professional – we want to make sure we are mindful of being good neighbours,” added Graham.
The Horizon North site comprises 12 acres, three which will be used to build a 192-room hotel. The original design called for 300 rooms but Graham said they had approached the District of Kitimat and secured the go-ahead to reduce that number to 192.
“We felt 300 rooms is a little stout. The last thing we want to do is dampen the profile of existing hotel rooms in the district,” said Graham.
He said the hotel will be a limited service hotel similar to an existing hotel the company built in Oliver, B.C.
He said the remaining portion will most likely accommodate an office and retail section, which will also be modular and will be built at their plant in Kamloops.
“We are currently finalizing franchise agreements and hope to be well along to having that in place next year. Within 12 months of getting going on the pioneer lodge I believe we will have the footings in for the hotel,” said Graham.
He said there was a lot of interest in both the pioneer lodge and the hotel, even before the Final Investment Decision was made on October 1.
“We dealt with a number of hotel proponents that subject to FID wanted to have a conversation about the hotel property,” added Graham.
“I would also like to see an office building go in with a food establishment on the main floor. Our intent is to make a complete showcase out of the commercial strip along the highway.
“We also want to make sure that strip has great curb appeal, that it’s a showcase for the district.”
Graham said during construction they will have a maximum of 1,750 employees and will be sourcing skilled tradesmen, chefs, housekeepers, security and janitorial from the community.