THE B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) has announced plans to build an office building on the empty lot on the corner of Lazelle and Kalum.
With a total project cost of approximately $3.8 million, the 4,600 square foot one-storey structure will serve as the BCGEU’s regional headquarters for the more than 2,200 union members working in the northwest, says union president Stephanie Smith.
The union for years has rented space in the Lazelle Mini Mall.
“We’ll now have a larger space. We do a lot of training and it’s important we have room for meetings,” said Smith. The unon will also make its meeting rooms available at no charge for community groups, she said.
The decision to own its own building here and to do the same at other locations around the province follows a decision made by union members to highlight their presence within those communities, Smith added.
“They also become an asset for the union,” she said.
The union’s most current building project is in Fort St. John and that is to be ready for occupancy next spring.
As with its building projects elsewhere in B.C., the Richmond-based firm of Wales McLelland has been chosen as the designer and contractor for the project here.
It uses union subtrades and if it can’t find those in the communities in which it builds BCGEU offices, will then use non-union ones.
A ground-breaking ceremony will be held next spring here and completion is anticipated by the late spring of 2018.
The BCGEU area office here covers the area from Haida Gwaii east to Burns Lake, to Kitimat in the south and to Atlin in the north.
Across B.C., one-third of the BCGEU’s 70,000 members work directly for governments, one-third for social services and other agencies who receive public monies with the remaining one-third working in the private sector.
Of the latter, the list of companies include road maintenance companies Nechako Northcoast and Lakes District Maintenance.