Almost 50 per cent of the Coastal GasLink Project’s right-of-way has been cleared to prepare for pipe assembly later this summer, with some sections expected to be 100 per cent cleared as early as the end of February.
In fact, currently more than 1,200 women and men are at work, 350 of which are Indigenous members — this number will continue to increase as clearing activities continue and mainline construction commences later this year.
These activities are creating jobs and economic opportunities for local communities, with more than $825 million awarded to date to Indigenous and locally-owned businesses along the project route.
One of them is Duz Cho Construction. Based out of Chetwynd, Duz Cho was founded 18 years ago by Chief Harley Chingee for the McLeod Lake Indian Band, a community that has signed a project agreement with Coastal GasLink.
Today, Duz Cho has about 45 skilled equipment operators supporting Coastal GasLink’s clearing work with almost half of them members of the McLeod Lake Indian Band or other Indigenous communities.
“It gives everyone here a job to bring food to their families. People don’t see what [Coastal GasLink] actually means to all of Canada and families in the north,” says Jacob Albertson, Duz Cho Construction’s General Manager.
The opportunity to be part of a unique project with wide Indigenous and local support has drawn people from all over the north. “That’s the difference here. This work gives us pride, a sense of accomplishment, and a chance to be part of something important. The chance for meaningful work is so valuable, it makes you wake up at 6am and want to go to work,” added Albertson.
For Darren Orr, a Duz Cho equipment operator, that opportunity coupled with the ability to work with his community from the McLeod Lake Indian Band attracted him to the Coastal GasLink Project.
“Coastal GasLink is keeping people busy. It’s giving employment, there’s a lot of positivity out here, and it’s going to be great,” said Orr.
Partnerships such as the one with Duz Cho reflect the many partnerships formed between Coastal GasLink and all 20 First Nations communities along the project’s 670-kilometre right-of-way with which the project has signed agreements. Through these partnerships, Indigenous and local community members have access to jobs, skills training and other economic development opportunities.
“It means a lot to [the community] that Coastal GasLink and its partners are coming in to invest in the community, not just build a pipeline. Duz Cho’s theme is making footprints that our children will be proud to walk in, and we see Coastal GasLink living that out too. They’re here to leave their mark in a positive way,” said Albertson.
Learn more and stay connected at www.CoastalGasLink.com