Kitimat wants to see work camp policy

Councillors voted to develop a policy to address future possible work camps in town.

Just as Northern Health is beginning to look at the ways industrial work camps will affect health delivery in the region, Kitimat Council is also hoping to look at the ways work camps affect town.

To that end they are beginning the process to develop a municipal policy that will outline the ways that Kitimat can beneft from work camps.

Phil Germuth put forward the motion, saying there are many areas that work camps impact, from health care to supporting local businesses, to employment and social services.

On the subject of employment, he noted that First Nations usually have employment guarantees from industrial companies but meanwhile the District of Kitimat has not ensured that all area residents have an equal opportunity for work.

As well, he says the existing work camp already in Kitimat is largely supplied by out-of-province businesses.

“We need to investigate the possibility of how to encourage future camps to support local businesses,” said Germuth.

Germuth said he’s looked at Dawson Creek which may provide a useful example for Kitimat to follow.

Councillors all voted in favour of the motion, with Corinne Scott and Mario Feldhoff making particular comment that approaching this subject is a good idea.

Feldhoff said that while there may be specific points in the policy he might not agree with, and suggested Dawson Creek’s model might possibly not be the right direction for Kitimat, looking at this issue will help the town better tie-in their services and zoning requirements to future camps.