In a unanimous decision on Tuesday night, the District of Sparwood denied an application to build a temporary worker camp in Sparwood.
This follows the June 4 public hearing hosted by the District of Sparwood for the temporary worker camp which received strong community opposition. The camp would have provided accommodation for 150-200 workers over 24-36 months.
The project was proposed as a way to meet short-term housing needs in Sparwood.
GNS Industrial Trailer Services, an Edmonton-based company proposed to build a lodge north of Sparwood which would have included 114 executive style beds, an office and check in area, full kitchen and dining facility, and recreation space.
Sparwood Mayor David Wilks said they defeated the application for a number of reasons; traffic concerns, difficulty to keep the camp ‘dry’, and also concern that Sparwood is not a community used to having camps.
“We did have them in the 1970s and 80s when they were needed, because Sparwood was just being created at the time. The coal mines were going to open pit and as a result there was a surge of workers at the time,” said Wilks.
During that time, several housing complex’s were constructed, and what is now the Spardell Mobile Home Park served as a worker camp.
“But we’ve transitioned from that, to make Sparwood a living community, not one that’s built on transient workers,” Wilks explained.
“Although having said that, we also recognize that the majority of Teck workers don’t live here in the valley,” he continued.
Wilks said council was impressed by the turnout of 150 people to the public hearing on June 4 at which 24 individuals spoke. All who spoke were opposed. The District also received 14 written submissions opposing the project.
“We were elected by the people of Sparwood to listen to them and when they have a concern such as that, and it’s basically unanimous at the public hearing that they don’t want it, then they don’t want it,” said Wilks.
“So, we move on.”