LNG Canada winds down, Site C work presses on amid coronavirus pandemic

Outside the Site C work camp. Jordan Armstrong

LNG Canada is scaling back its workforce in Kitimat, but work on the Site C Dam in B.C.’s Peace Region is pressing ahead amid the growing novel coronavirus crisis.

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“LNG Canada, JGC Fluor and our subcontractors will be reducing staffing levels, implementing a mandatory work from home policy for non-business critical positions, and deferring many non-essential work activities at the Kitimat site for the time being,” said the company in a note to staff on Monday.

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The company said essential work will continue, including on jobs that must be completed within regulatory windows or activities that have already been started and must be safely completed.

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Near Fort St. John, work is proceeding apace on the Site C Dam according to BC Hydro.

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The Crown corporation said Tuesday that there were no presumed or confirmed cases of the virus on site.

“At this time, work on the project continues and all workers that are key to our critical project milestones continue their work at site,” said a BC Hydro spokesperson in an email.

“Our top priority remains the safety of our employees, workers and members of the public. We continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the recommendations and guidance of health authorities.”

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the Northern Health Authority was working with BC Hydro to ensure appropriate precautions were in place.

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“Construction work outside is not as much of a risk as we’re worried about,” she said.

“And making sure the accommodations there are adequate to prevent transmission of infections.”

The project includes a work camp housing more than 1,300 people, and which includes a coffee shop, a lounge, a theatre, gym and personal trainers, tanning and hair salons.

BC Hydro said it has closed the gym and theatre and eliminated self-service stations in the dining area.

The company said it has also restricted all non essential travel to and from the site and increased cleaning.

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