As Trans Mountain pulls up camps, ‘boom town’ effects hit some B.C. municipalities hard
The mayor of Valemount never expected to be caught up in traffic jams along the Yellowhead Highway.
But there he was with who-knows-how-many other drivers, time after time, sitting still or slowly creeping along in his car because of all the Trans Mountain Pipeline workers in the area.
“It was my first experience in rural B.C. being held up in traffic,” Owen Torgerson said. “When we negotiated our community-benefits agreement a couple of councils ago (in 2015) we were under the understanding that there would be 750, 800, maybe 900 workers on this project.”
A camp to handle 550 to 600 pipeline workers was going to be set up, and Torgerson and others were confident the village could handle the overflow.
“We thought, you know, we could easily absorb that into our into our local accommodators as we’re a resort municipality,” he said, almost chuckling at the then-council’s naivete.