The economic boom of LNG projects in the north would transform our communities. While economic opportunities and jobs are important, the reality could be very different from the numbers BC was promised.
We need jobs, but most of the LNG jobs would be skilled labour positions. BC currently has a skilled labour shortage. Government and industry know that temporary workers would have to fill these jobs, and in some cases would bring foreign workers into the province.
If three LNG projects went ahead in Kitimat, there could be up to 10,000 temporary workers moving into the region. Kitimat’s current population is about 9,000.
This boom would last about 3-5 years, but then what? There would only be about 300 permanent jobs at an LNG facility, and a pipeline would only require a few maintenance jobs. The majority of employment would be short-term and temporary.
Housing and living costs
Do you know someone who can’t find affordable housing? Have you had friends or coworkers come to town only to discover that all the hotels were booked up? Have you noticed the price of food and entertainment is on the rise? This is all part of the “boom”, and aside from Alcan, it’s all speculative (that is, none of the LNG projects have financial backing yet).
Kitimat has less than 1% housing availability, and long-time community members have been “reno-victed” to make room for the influx of temporary workers. With thousands more temporary workers coming to the north, housing could become even more scarce and expensive.