More than half of the workforce at Osisko Develoment’s new underground mine near Wells is expected to live in the Quesnel area.
That from President Chris Lodder, who was part of a presentation that was made at last (Tuesday) night’s City Council meeting in Quesnel.
460 jobs are expected to be created.
Mayor Bob Simpson indicated that he felt that the project was getting to the stage where it was time that the city and Osisko had some formal planning meetings.
“As a Council, and as a city, we need to understand some of the planning areas that we need to work more closely with them around, particularly things like housing. What are they looking at, how many units, where would they like to see those ? We have to really start aligning around that.”
Simpson said planning may also be needed around Osisko eventually having an office in Quesnel as well, which is something else that the company mentioned at the meeting.
He said the City is already adjusting its transition strategy towards workforce attraction, but he says there is still a lot of work to do if they are going to take full advantage of upcoming opportunities.
“Clearly we know that housing is an issue, market housing. We’ve done a good job on the social housing side and will continue to work on that, but we really need to land those initial marketing developments to prove to developers that our market is hot, and is going to get hotter. And to make sure we understand what their workforce is going to be looking for in a community, and aligning our investments with what they’re looking for.”
While Osisko plans to build a hotel style camp to house more than 200 workers, Lodder indicated that what normally happens is that they start looking for their own place once they start to settle in.
Lodder also said last (Tuesday) night that a lot of their supplies have been, and would continue to be purchased locally as well.
Mayor Simpson talked about what this project means to the city.
“At a time when people are concerned about the future of the forest industry, or concerned about where jobs are going to be, this is a real shot in the arm to say that here we have a play, a mining play, that looks like it’s going to be around for a long time, that has very significant employment numbers, and very significant economic benefits to our region.”
Simpson said it should give people comfort in the region’s economy that it is going to be sustainable for a long time to come.
The Cariboo Gold project is currently in the BC Environmental Assessment process.
Lodder said they expect to have an Environmental Assessment Certificate by the third quarter of this year.
He said that would be followed by an extensive provincial permitting process.