Britco and the Gitxsan Development Corporation are teaming up to create a building rental and workforce accommodation business.
The two signed a memorandum of understanding June 26. The business will focus on large infrastructure projects proposed in the area. They have already started marketing to possible customers in Alberta and B.C.
Britco, based in Langley, is one of the largest modular construction companies in the industry. They provide temporary and permanent residential and commercial modular buildings for construction, energy and resource sectors.
“Many members of the Gitxsan First Nation are business owners and as part of this agreement we’ll be utilizing their services, the opportunity to work with these businesses is one that we look forward to,” said Britco president Mike Ridley.
GDC president and CEO Rick Connors said there could be up to 200 people working in a proposed camp.
“It’s jobs that the Gitxsan have the talent for, they just require some over arching management. To run a quality type operation that you have to run in these types of camps, you need that, its not just a burger joint, you are trying to cook gourmet meals on a regular basis.”
The GDC, according to its website, is the holding company for Gitxsan enterprise and is governed by a board of directors appointed by the trustees of the Gitxsan Lipgyet Trust. The corporation belongs to the Gitxsan people. Their site also says its structure is unique to the business world, melding the traditional governance of the Gitxsan to the contemporary needs of global businesses.
Connors doesn’t think the Gitxsan Treaty Society pulling the plug on all discussions about any proposed pipeline development will hinder this new partnership with Britco.
“From the outside looking in, it looks conflicting,” he said. “On the surface it looks like the chiefs are penalizing the proponents, the intent is to bring awareness to the government to have them address the problem and address it now. The GDC continues to perform its duties, we aren’t discussing the projects, we are implementing some things that have to be put in place.”
The GTS stopped discussions surrounding LNG projects last month because the government has signed agreements in principle with neighbouring bands for land and rights that the Gitxsan said would be taken away from them.
“Our partners all know and understand the implications and they are all in full support and full agreement with the hereditary chiefs in terms of their stance. It isn’t like they are making any statement against a project at all, they are simply stating their case when it comes to the handling of the agreements in principle with the other First Nations,” said Connors.