Eight work camp trailers purchased by Coast Mountain College several years ago to meet a need for student housing are getting a new life at the Kin Kamp on Lakelse Lake by replacing structures torn down because they were no longer viable.
“The college donated the units and then the contractors donated their time [to refurbish the trailers],” says Nick Bruce, Kinsmen vice-president and Kin Kamp coordinator.
In 2015, the college used $375,000 from the province and $25,000 of its own money to buy and install the eight trailers on the edge of its Terrace campus, adding 49 co-ed rooms to its housing stock.
The trailers were seven years old at the time and were originally from the Alberta oil patch. With a life expectancy of 25 years and a $425 monthly room cost, the idea was to give trades students a taste of the camp life if they ever should work away from home.
Bruce says Progressive Ventures suggested the college donate the unused trailers, especially after the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training announced $18.7 million for new student housing earlier this month.
“[The trailers are] really a bridge between our ultimate goal to build a more permanent facility,” Bruce says, mentioning the organization is putting together a master plan for the camp’s future, with bathroom facilities, RV pads and camping pads.
While the trailers will no longer be used house students, they will find another use with the Terrace Kinsmen to revive their Kin Kamp location at Lakelse Lake.
“It allows us to have a facility for washrooms, kitchen preparation and interior bunks for housing for renters,” Bruce says.
The Kinsmen used the property to host a variety of events, including the Kinsmen annual Kermode Bear Swim that kicks off the New Year, weddings, and family reunions, among others. Three years ago, the 50-year old buildings were demolished to eventually make way for newer ones.
The trailers were never meant to be a long term solution, but a way of meeting demand for student housing at the time, says Sarah Zimmerman, CMTN director of communications.
“They’ve been here for about five years and come to the useful end of their life. They do need mechanical, electrical and other upgrades, and now that we’ve got the funding for the new student housing, it doesn’t make sense to invest that into the trailer camp when we know we’ve got really modern, beautiful housing coming in two years,” Zimmerman says.
“We’re comfortable with what we have at the moment, the work that’s required would mean that we wouldn’t be able to use them this year in any event. It makes more sense for us in a fiscal perspective to pass them along to an organization that can refurbish them through in-kind donations and see them have a few more years of life.”
Bruce says the Kinsmen hope to have the trailers ready for use by next spring. The club is also looking for volunteers, and anyone looking for more information can check out their Facebook page or attend one of their weekly Thursday meetings, he says.