AS Terrace’s own megaproject, the construction of a new Mills Memorial Hospital offers an unprecedented opportunity for local employment and business opportunities.
It may be difficult now to gauge the impact of the project estimated at $362 million, but in Penticton, a $312 million addition to that city’s hospital is predicted to provide more than 1,900 jobs over the course of its three-year construction schedule.
For more comparisons, the massive modernization of Rio Tinto’s Kitimat aluminum smelter required 3,800 workers at peak.
There may be skills needed for the Mills construction that require labour from the outside but there’s no reason why the majority of the work cannot be done by local people.
More complicated might be the involvement of local companies in bidding for and securing contracts.
But as is the case elsewhere, large projects can be broken down into segments of a size which then permits opportunities for small and medium sized local enterprises.
All this is the reason why city council should strike a Mills Memorial Hospital task force made up of local labour and business representatives to politely but firmly insert itself into the construction planning.
We’ve been through years of job training and other measures aimed at the benefits from a so-far elusive liquefied natural gas industry.
A new Mills is, however, real and there’s no time to waste.