Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)

B.C. restricts pipeline, dam restarts due to COVID-19 risk

Coastal GasLink, Trans Mountain, Rio Tinto, Site C slowed for holidays

B.C. public health officials are extending a holiday season slowdown on major northern B.C. construction projects to break the cycle of COVID-19 infections at large work camps.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has posted a new order setting out a slow return to full work at the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink pipeline works, the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, the Site C dam and Rio Tinto Alcan’s water tunnel expansion project for the aluminum smelter at Kitimat. The order from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry details the workforce limits for a slow return that was announced before Christmas.

With vaccines now being administered to 10 remote Indigenous reserves, Nothern Health’s capacity for treating and contact tracing is stretched thin as they deal with an increase in infections at work camps in the region.

“This increase has resulted in a increased numbers of clusters of people with COVID-19, outbreaks of COVID-19, the transmission of COVID-19 to surrounding communities, including Indigenous communities, increasing risk of hospitalization, intensive care admissions and deaths in the Northern Health region,” the order states. “It is challenging for public health officials to respond to cases, clusters and outbreaks of infection at remote worksites and industrial camps, and a high volume of cases taxes the capacity of the Northern Health Authority public health system to carry out contact tracing.”

RELATED: Coastal GasLink pipeline camps deal with outbreak

RELATED: Rio Tinto restarts Kemano T2 project after shutdown

The order restricts the Coastal GasLink project to the holiday-season level of 400 employees through January, then add up to 600 more as the camps along the Highway 16 pipeline route resume operation.

LNG Canada’s liquefied natural gas project at Kitimat can add 400 workers by Jan. 6, reaching 850, with another 250 workers allowed by Jan. 20 and the project up to 1,100 employees by late January.

The Site C dam project near Fort St. John is allowed to go from 400 to 800 workers in early January, with 300 more by Jan. 21 and 1,100 on the job by late January.

Trans Mountain’s twinning of the pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby and Washington state is adding up to 100 more workers to the 50 kept on over the holidays, with 450 more after Feb. 1 and 600 on the job by mid-February.

Rio Tinto Alcan’s T2 water project can go from 160 to 280 workers by mid-January, with the situation to be reassessed in February.

Each project has to submit a restart plan for operations into 2021, to be approved by public health authorities.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkCoronavirusSite CTrans Mountain pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robbie Campbell lost his livelihood when the pandemic shut down Shambhala Music Festival. Instead, he spent part of 2020 working on a children’s book called Tulip that is now available. Photo: Submitted
In a lousy year, a Kootenay man was saved by a pink T-rex

Robbie Campbell became a children’s author after the pandemic cost him his livelihood

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The flag that would normally fly at the Grand Forks Legion was cut down early Sunday, Jan. 17, according to Grand Forks RCMP. Photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 059
Flag vandalized at Grand Forks’ Royal Canadian Legion

Grand Forks RCMP said no one saw who cut down the flag Sunday morning, Jan. 17

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
RCMP: Small tin saved Trail man from stabbing

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

School District 8 is asking the education ministry to stop making the Foundation Skills Assessment data public. File photo
Kootenay Lake School District requests education ministry make annual student assessments private

The district is concerned the data is being misused by the Fraser Institute

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Christmas may be over, but many B.C. neighbourhoods are still shining bright with the glimmer of holiday decorations and lights into 2021. (Black Press Media files)
British Columbians keep Christmas lights on past holidays to combat ‘COVID-19 blues’

One-third of households have kept their holiday decorations on display in 2021: B.C. Hydro survey

Most Read