By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 1, 2013
Rick Schnurr did something he hasn’t done in a few years: He hired two people.
The owner of L&A equipment hired two men to be part of his work crew at the Skookum Creek Power Project.
L & A equipment is one such local subcontractor who has found work with the independent power project.
“If it wasn’t for this contract, we won’t have hired anyone,” Schnurr says.
The Skookum Creek hydro project is located 12 kilometers east of Squamish, at the intersection of the creek with the Mamquam River.
The hiring for the 25-megawatt, $92-milllion project began in last October. The project is slated to be complete by January next year.
On the day this report was written, there were 81 crew members working on the site; 46 of them were from Squamish, said spokesperson Mikki Rempel.
Besides L&A equipment, Atwell Equipment, Sko-mish Valley security, Westbarr, Cardinal Concrete, and Bizzie Bee’s Cleaning were some other local companies hired for this job, said project spokesperson Mikki Rempel.
While presenting before the council last year, Skookum Creek representatives had claimed the two-year construction period would yield 320 direct and 255 indirect jobs in town.
They also said the preference would be to hire local, qualified people to fill the role.
Justin Calabrese, a contractor for the project, said the preference is to hire local people, and uses the local ‘know-how.’
“It’s just more competitive to go local,” he said.
“We have also hired local welders, safety manager and a surveyor recently.”
Squamish Inn on the Water, a local hotel, also has most if its rooms booked for people working on the project.
Rempel said the hiring takes place through indeed.com, Craigslist, Kijili, and the Squamish First Nations newsletter.
Word of mouth and walk up have also brought jobs to people, she said.
“We make every effort to procure, acquire and hire locally,” she said.
When the project first came before the district, the councilors were reluctant to support it.
In January last year, however, the district came around to back the project after it satisfied the concerns of the mountain biking community.
In August last year, SORCA announced it had signed a key principles agreement with the proponents.
The agreement called for trail replacement and construction during power line construction.
The power lines would follow an existing B.C. Hydro right-of-way behind Quest University and Alice and Cat lakes, and then connect to the electrical grid in Brackendale.