An inside look at life in the Site C work camp
This is part two in a three-part Global BC series examining the Site C dam. Read part one here and read part two here.
Imagine a remote job site where the steak dinners are unlimited and the bed is made for you. It does exist — in northeastern B.C.
The work camp at the Site C dam near Fort St. John offers cruise ship-style amenities to the more than 1,300 people currently staying there.
It has a coffee shop, a lounge with craft beer, a theatre, gyms and personal trainers, tanning and hair salons and a kitchen that never stops.
“As long as you come up one at a time, you can absolutely have six steaks. There are a lot of big guys here who like to eat,” said executive chef Robert Varga.
PHOTOS: Behind the scenes at the Site C work camp
The bedrooms at the camp look much like a hotel room.
Cafeteria facilities at the Site C camp.
Gym facilities at the Site C camp.
Outside the Site C work camp.
Chefs at the work camp must prepare food for more than 1,300 hungry workers.
Everyone gets their own bedroom and washroom — perks that used to be unheard of in work camps.
“Just the comfort of some of the appointments in the room are a lot nicer than a lot of the other facilities on the market. That’s purposefully done from an aspect of worker attraction and retention, said facilities manager Brian Hussain.
The meals and most of the amenities are free, but a few, like the tanning salon, are pay-per-use.
The wages at Site C are good. Heavy equipment operators earn between $35 and $45 an hour.
“I love my job. If you’re wanting to get money fast and work towards a career goal, I think this is the way to do it,” said Malia Salvas, a rock truck driver from Vernon.
“For me, I travel. If I want to take off some time in the winter and put that money towards travelling, I’m happy.”
The budget to build, operate and dismantle the work camp over nine years is nearly half a billion dollars.
It will be torn down after dam completion in 2024.
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