I have been pretty quiet, for awhile , in regards to the damn Dam. But, as time marches along, I can see things I prophesied, peeking up out of the garbage pile. The main stay of all Crusty's promises to the Peace Region to get folks on board was.....Jobs, and ...community profit. I read comment after comment from young people in the area.."get this thing on the go..need work"..." shut up your idiots about garden's and farm land...the future needs energy and money". There are two sides, as usual on the matter of Site C..those who believe it is a disaster in the making, and those who believe the energy is needed, and along with the massive 8-9 Billion dollar construction price tag..a whole bunch of those who reside in the Peace region will be hired on to lucrative paying jobs, and they will make their fortunes. What's the loss of a whack of land they don't even care about mean , if they are suddenly going to be wealthy, and working near home?
Hellooooo....look carefully. Yep, there was indeed one contract handed out to "locals", a group of contractors banded together, with (smart on their part) an aboriginal owned company, and got a tiny contract, (in comparison) on the south side. Good for them!! They decided they were going to benefit, and not worry about the backlash from Treaty 8, and likely realized, no matter what happens, no matter what reasons are placed NOT to build it..it will be built, and they will benefit financially. I, personally, am on the sidelines, when it comes to these facts. As far as I am against the building of this, I personally feel, if anyone is going to make a dime, better it be someone who actually lives here, and will have to live with the end results.
However, surprise, the plans have a massive camp set up...of course the camp, and the camp site preparation contract was given to companies outside of this area, in fact, some of which is even outside of the province. This camp will be a city within itself, offering services the communities do not even have, like a fully functioning hospital with ...wait for it...DOCTORS!!!! Not one, not first aid attendants..nope...Doctors..while, at this very moment, two communities have been advised throughout the month of August, they will be either without a Doctor, or..with very limited Doctor services. The camp, well..we can only imagine will offer Doctors some pretty awesome wages, well beyond what our government pays, because..that would be the only reason a Doctor would even consider working in a camp. They will have massage therapists, a bar, a library, a theater! Is there really anyone who even remotely imagines that a single penny of profit will seep into the communities from those in camp? If you do..you are an idiot..this camp is designed to KEEP people in. So..do you think the food will be purchased from the surrounding communities to feed the camp? Hah! Nope this will likely be trucked in from Alberta..so...they won't be shopping at the local Price Smart!
Why did people think this project would be any different from any other Hydro project? Was it the amount of workers needed? We have already seen Hydro sway from the norm, and open the doors to non-union..are we stupid enough to think they don't have a plan in order?
Now I see folks actually questioning what is happening. They are upset, because local companies are NOT in the running, they don't have the ability to bond for these enormous bids...again, Hellooo..do folks not know how government bids work? Nope..this work will go elsewhere, it will go to the giants, international companies, who get every single project Hydro puts out. Just look..who is building the sub-station and towers between Chetwynd and Dawson...It is Valard, the same company that erected towers along the North West line, that have been falling down, because of sub-standard steel. I wonder, how many tradesmen from these parts were hired by Valard ? It would be interesting to get some numbers, perhaps I am wrong?
Yep, there will be some jobs. I went to the Open house here, I saw the lovely placard with the listings of jobs that will be available, and right on the same placard..to get one of these jobs, a person must contact the company that wins the bid. Hydro is NOT hiring. You will apply with a company that already has an employee base, those employees will be working, and..if/when, they realize they don't have enough, and likely search their home base for additional employees, they will open the doors to locals. Most likely labourers, as...when they bid on contracts they are already ensuring they have a ready supply of their own tradesmen.
I understand the desperation of young people around these parts. The world believes oil and gas employs everyone who needs a job in the Peace Region. They don't understand that this industry is NOT unlike Hydro. They are not based in this province, they come from Alberta and if one went to a camp, they would find the majority of employees reside in the Atlantic provinces or the Prairies. They generally hire a percentage of locals, but those often are at the bottom of the list when it comes to jobs, and often they sit for weeks at a time without work (that means without money). The reality here is, you can work full-time at Timmy's or Wal-Mart, or, you can ride the roller coaster of oil and gas. So...the dream of jobs that last years, with the construction of Site C would certainly light up the eyes of folks struggling month to month in an area with rents costing as much as Vancouver, and groceries and utilities beyond the imagination of those in the lower mainland.
Sadly, it will be those who do not pay the price of living in the Peace, who reap the benefits of this massive project. As time passes, I believe the truth will become clearer, and what appeared to be the promise of jobs, will prove to be the opposite. Guess we will just have to wait and see..but that is my prediction..Hope I am wrong!