A seven-kilometre urban section of the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning project has begun in Kamloops, throwing a lifeline to struggling hotels.
Trans Mountain Corp. said in a press release that the work will employ 30 to 50 people throughout June, and will ramp up to roughly 600 at peak construction by the late summer or early fall.
“We know these are challenging times for many communities and we are pleased to be able to contribute safely to the economy in Kamloops,” Trans Mountain CEO Ian Anderson said in a press release. “Trans Mountain knows that getting to work is important, but it must go hand in hand with a strong and unwavering commitment to the safety of our workforce and communities.”
The project may be a boon for Kamloops hotels, which would have seen a drop in businesses due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on travel and tourism.
B.C. hotels, and those across Canada, could see a 50 per cent drop in revenues per available room this year due to pandemic measures, according to a recent report from CBRE Hotels.
Pipeline workers will be housed at hotels in Kamloops. Trans Mountain says the company will spend more than $450 million over two years, and estimates local workforce spending at $40 million for goods and services.
Once the pipeline twinning project is complete, Trans Mountain estimates it will pay $1.2 million to $2.8 million in municipal taxes in Kamloops.
Trans Mountain also signed a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) with the City of Kamloops, with $700,000 to be spent on local community projects.
Trans Mountain will also contribute $500,000 to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops over 20 years to towards trades, social work, applied research and environmental science at the university.
“We are pleased that Trans Mountain is getting this portion of the project underway in Kamloops,” said Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian.
“As we face the new realities of today, we are confident in the measures they have put in place to ensure the safety of our community, and we are excited about the economic activity for local businesses and workers the project will bring over the next few years. This project will help us with our economic recovery plan and provide much needed benefits to our city.”
The 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain pipeline runs from Edmonton to Burnaby. A second line being built parallel to the existing one is broken into seven constructions spreads. Kamloops is part of the 185 kilometre BC Interior spread, which runs from near Kamloops to the Coquihalla Summit.
At last count, delays to the project have nearly doubled its estimated capital cost, from $7.4 billion to $12.6 billion. Trans Mountain has not yet provided a capital cost update on the project, which is now publicly owned.