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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

Dr. Cori Lausen, bat specialist, has questions about logging in an unusual bat habitat near Beasley. Photo: Submitted
Kaslo biologist questions logging at unique West Kootenay bat site

Dr. Cori Lausen, a bat specialist, studies a population of bats above Beasley

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Black bear cubs Athena and Jordan look on from their enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington, B.C., on July 8, 2015. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers when he opted not to shoot the baby bears in July after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding homes near Port Hardy, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears

Bryce Casavant was dismissed from his job for choosing not to shoot the cubs in 2015

(File Photo)
‘10 to 12 per cent’: Interior Health corrects COVID positivity rates in Fernie area

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Francina Mettes and Thomas Schouten with the 200-page document they submitted in December of 2018. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Dutch man, 94, facing unwanted trip home can stay in B.C. with wife of 45 years

Immigration offices cuts red tape so couple of 45 years can stay together in Victoria area

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier, health officials to discuss next steps in COVID immunization plan

Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Most Read