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

Nakota Hinksman had been reported missing in Abbotsford, but has since been located.
UPDATE: Missing teen with autism has been located in Abbotsford

Nakota Hinksman, 18, had been missing since 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Missing man’s mom still hopeful, 2 years after his car was found abandoned at Chilliwack trail

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

Abbotsford tattoo artist Tanya Loewen has entered the Inked cover girl contest.
Abbotsford mother, tattoo artist enters Inked cover girl contest

Tanya Loewen, tattoo artist at Van Bree Tattoo, hoping to win big in magazine contest

District of Kent farmers brought truckloads of used plastic to the Schwichtenburg farm Oct. 26, 2018, for pickup by Kent Agricultural Plastics Recycling, a grassroots, farmer-initiated organization that collects and distributes used plastics for recycling. (Nina Grossman/The Observer)
Agassiz’s agricultural plastics program heading to the dump, unless province steps in

Kent Agricultural Plastics Recycling has nowhere to go, hopes B.C. will create a recycling program

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual interference in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read