Camp clearing underway

Clearing is underway on the site where a large work camp could one day be located in Thornhill south of Churchill Drive

Clearing is underway on the site where a large work camp could one day be located in Thornhill just off of Hwy37 South and south of Churchill Drive.

As part of the agreement to purchase the 93-acre wooded property, PTI Group, an Edmonton-based worker lodging company, had assigned logging rights to the previous owner of the land.

Local developer Mike Scott, who sold the property, says his company, Rio Vista,  says the work began with clearing an access road from Hwy37 South.

Scott said he has until the end of the summer to finish the harvest of what he foresees to be approximately 50 per cent of the trees considered suitable for other uses.

“This is temporary access just so we can get the timber off the property,” said Scott last week. “There is probably half of it where the timber value is not sufficient to warrant logging it.”

“There will be a buffer along the highway so people driving along probably won’t notice it and there will be a big buffer between where the logged area is and where the residents on Churchill Drive live,” he added.

PTI official Sean Crockett said the worker lodging company is not part of the clearing operation and that the company isn’t yet proceeding with any development plans.

PTI, which is already in the advanced stages of worker lodging plans at Kitimat in anticipation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, won’t be proceeding at the Thornhill location until more is known about LNG development requirements.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, PTI applied for the permit to put in a temporary access road to the logging site.

“PTI Group has been issued a temporary resource access permit for logging purposes,” said a ministry official.

Any further development at the location for accommodations would require rezoning approval from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.

Transportation ministry access approval would also be needed because of the proximity to Hwy37 South.

Residents in the Churchill Drive subdivision spoke out in March about concerns related to a plan to put a work camp so close to residences.

Crockett had responded that the lodging would be of a more lasting nature than the term “work camp” evokes and that housing units suitable for a upwards of a decade of use would be placed there.

He did not comment on reports that an industrial laundry facility might also be part of any lodging development proposal.