Edmonton company GNS Industrial Trailer Services is proposing to build a lodge in Sparwood to accommodate contract workers. Image courtesy of GNS

Temporary housing proposed in Sparwood

A new temporary housing project promises to meet short-term housing needs in Sparwood amid expansion plans at a nearby mine.

GNS Industrial Trailer Services has identified there is a temporary housing need for approximately 150-200 people over the next 24-36 months.

The Edmonton-based company proposes to build a lodge north of Sparwood that will include 114 executive style beds, an office and check in area, full kitchen and dining facility, and recreation space.

The project will create 5-10 part time jobs during construction and 10-15 full time positions during operations, and comes amid expansion plans at the Elkview coal mine, with other municipal and provincial construction projects in the works.

“Most of the contract workers coming into your area have families and homes elsewhere. They work on rotating shifts, heading home for their days off,” said GNS General Manager Josh Skoreyko during a presentation to Sparwood council on September 17.

“Our goal is to provide them with a home away from home, keeping them happy and comfortable while they are away so they can return home to their families safely, at the end of the project.”

GNS has found a property located at 8000 Highway 43, just north of Rivercrest Cemetery, it believes is suitable for the lodge, which it hopes will be fully operational within 4-5 months. The company is working with the current landowner, who is also keen to develop the site.

GNS has budgeted between $600,000 and $800,000 for service upgrades at the property, which include tying in sewage, upgrading the access road as well as land development on a portion of the site.

Skoreyko said that while GNS’ project is for temporary housing, the company also understands Sparwood’s need for a more permanent housing solution.

“By working with the current landowner on this opportunity we believe we can help achieve the goal of leaving a ‘legacy’ behind by helping develop the site that he already has plans drawn up for 30 permanent modular homes,” he said.

GNS has indicated that it would be happy to continue to operate the lodge after the initial 24-36 months if there was a need and want from the council.

Speaking to The Free Press last week, Skoreyko said he felt councillors’ overall response to the project has been positive.

“We still have work to do to respond to some questions that exist and anticipate spending a great deal of time in the town to work through any additional questions that come up,” he said.

GNS is in the process of filing a temporary use permit and building permit application for review by council.

If approved, construction will start on the site to prepare it for the facility to be installed.

Skoreyko said room rates have yet to be finalized and will be determined once the final costs have been calculated.

District of Sparwood briefs

Well contracts awarded

A contract to build a new water well in the District of Sparwood has been awarded to a Langley company for just under $3.65 million.

The District received six bids for the Well #4 watermain project, with Projex Infrastructure’s tender determined to be compliant and the lowest by consulting engineers.

The contract to build the pumphouse was awarded to 898845 Alberta Ltd. (operating as Link Builders) of Pincher Creek, AB, for the price tendered at $917,000.45.

Teck Coal is funding Well #4 to replace Well #3, which has been shut down on a number of occasions due to high selenium levels stemming from mining activity in the area.

The new well will be located north of Sparwood Heights.

Sidewalk access improvements

Work is underway to make the Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society in Sparwood more accessible.

At the September 17 regular meeting, council authorized that notice be posted of its intention to consider allocating $8000 for reconfiguring and improving accessibility on the sidewalks with and abutting 122 Centennial Street.

The Elk Valley Thrift Shop Society has requested reconfiguration of District property to accommodate accessibility needs to their property.

The Society has committed $3000 towards this project.

The next regular meeting in council chambers is on Monday, October 1 at 1 p.m.

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