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FEBRUARY 2016 • VOL. 2, ISSUE 10

Big Plans AltaGas inks deal to build $500 million propane terminal near Prince Rupert

Surveying the


Staying Independent and local pays off big for Smithers company

Inside N 2 K Now there’s 2 Second group moves forward with Kitimat plans

Culture Change Vanderhoof company making safety work

Cleaning Up Terrace businessman makes small footprint

Big Influence Prince Rupert gateway benefits reach beyond port


asked about


Small business is the backbone of the economy in Northwest BC. We’re doing what we can now to help grow small business and create jobs. Jeffrey Minhinnick (top) and Aaron Whitfield (bottom) both pitched their business ideas in last year’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge. Jeff has used his prize money to grow his and his partner’s barbershop business, Ye Olde Chop Bloc. Aaron, a Business Challenge applicant,

Jeffrey Minhinnick - Runner up - Best Business Expansion Opportunity

got the opportunity to meet other young entrepreneurs and business leaders in the region. He has since moved on to expand his photography business, Red Bike Media. Do you want to take part in the 2016 ThriveNorth Business Challenge? Do you know someone who should? For more information and how to apply, visit ThriveNorth.ca.

Aaron Whitfield - 2015 ThriveNorth Business Challenge applicant

BG Canada is proposing an LNG facility on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, BC. Stay informed about what we’re doing in the community by signing up for our email updates on our Contact Us page. Or, visit Rosa and Herb at our local Prince Rupert office located at 610 2nd Avenue West. We’ve also recently updated our website! Visit www.princerupertlng.ca.

Rosa Miller

Herb Pond

Ringing in the New Year LNG Canada has been working hard, and they have the paperwork to prove it. The company has marked a series of milestones for the project, which puts it in a strong position to make a Final Investment Decision later in 2016.

These approvals come as the company continues with their site preparation activity, which commenced in early December.

On January 6th, LNG Canada celebrated receipt of an LNG facility permit from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC). That permit, the first of its kind issued in the province, gives the company the regulatory clearance to construct and operate an LNG facility in Kitimat.

With an abundance of news being released on the project, LNG Canada is opening up the lines of communication with the community and seeking feedback through any medium they can.

Just a day later on January 7th, the National Energy Board (NEB) approved the application of LNG Canada for a 40-year natural gas export licence, replacing the 25-year licence the company had already received, subject to the approval of the Governor in Council. This was the first 40-year export licence approved by the NEB since it changed the rules to allow for longer licences in June 2015. “LNG Canada is pleased to have received the National Energy Board decision regarding LNG Canada’s 40-year natural gas export application. This decision is welcomed by our Joint Venture Participants, and we believe further enhances the competitiveness of the emerging LNG industry in Canada, relative to our international competition,” said LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz.

The news about the LNG Canada project continues to be positive, with momentum building steadily. In addition to reading about the project in local and mainstream media, LNG Canada is continuing to expand the lines of communication with the community, and finding ways to seek feedback through a variety of mediums. Their newest channel of communication is an LNG Canada Facebook page, found at facebook.com/LNGCanada. Updates from the company will be posted on their news stream with comments from other people in the community will be visible as well. “We were delighted by the response we received to the launch of our Facebook page,” says Kat Birtwistle, Manager of Communications for LNG Canada. “Within the first week of launch, LNG Canada had close to 1500 followers, with hundreds of people sharing

This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr

the posts about LNG activity in the community,” she added. Tapping into social media is just one more way to communicate with the public. LNG Canada also has a toll-free number at 1-855-248-3631 (or 250-639-3229 if you’re local in Kitimat), and you can e-mail questions, concerns and feedback to feedback@lngcanada.ca If your questions are about contracting and procurement, they have also set up a dedicated email address at contracting@lngcanada.ca Going online to www.lngcanada.ca will also provide a wealth of information on the project. The work the company has been doing, and the recent regulatory approvals aren’t a guarantee that the project will receive an approval to move into construction, but they are a clear indication LNG Canada and its partners have made a significant commitment to the project.




Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Todd Hamilton Prince Rupert Ed Evans, Sales Melissa Boutilier, Sales Kevin Campbell, Reporter Terrace Rod Link, Editor Bert Husband, Sales Erin Bowker, Sales Kitimat Louisa Genzale, Sales Cameron Orr, Editor Smithers Grant Harris, Sales Nick Briere, Sales Xuyun Zeng, reporter Houston Mary-Anne Ruiter, Sales Burns Lake Laura Blackwell, Sales Flavio Nienow, Editor Fort St. James/ Vanderhoof Pam Berger, Sales Vivian Chui, Reporter Barbara Latkowski, Reporter Haida Gwaii Quinn Bender, Sales Stacey Marple, Reporter N2K CONTACT INFO:

Vanderhoof Fort St. James Burns Lake Houston Smithers Terrace Kitimat Prince Rupert Haida Gwaii

• • • • • • • • •

250-567-9258 250-567-9258 250-692-7526 250-845-2890 250-847-3266 250-638-7283 250-632-6144 250-624-8088 250-559-4680

N2K is a Black Press publication mailed or delivered by carrier to 31,500 homes and businesses throughout Northwest B.C. Our Head Office is located at: 737 Fraser Street, Prince Rupert, B.C., V8J 1R1 250-624-8088 Fax: 250-624-8085



uccess and stability come from diversification. We cannot begin tell you how many times we have heard this from the success stories we have covered in N2K in the past several years. In the face of adversity or just to improve, the best companies and individuals we’ve come across have embraced adaptation and diversification. As Kevin Campbell reports in this issue of N2K, Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert is pulling a page from that very same playbook. We’re all very well aware of the distinct challenges the coal industry is facing today with floundering commodity prices and reduced Asian demand. Ridley Terminals recognized they needed to seek alternatives to continue as a viable operation and inked a sublease deal with AltaGas to build a $400 to $500 million propane export terminal. At the same time, we are also seeing Northwest B.C.’s traditional industries of fishing, logging, mining and tourism adapting and diversifying to succeed in the 21st Century. That diversification crosses over to adding value to our natural resources before export, all the while providing the benefit of protecting our environment. As Cameron Orr highlights in his article, near Kitimat there are now two groups actively pursuing a refinery — David Black’s (owner of N2K) Kitimat Clean and the Pacific Future Energy group. Both groups want to refine bitumen into products that will have dramatically less potential of damaging our precious ecosystem and provide billions in high-paying jobs and socially-beneficial taxation. As Smithers’ Xuyun Zeng reports, highly-successful HBH Land Surveying Inc. has continued to expand over the past 27 years after initially focussing on legal land surveying. Over the next three decades, the company expanded and diversified into engineering and construction while remaining true to its local and independent roots. Diversification is key, but so too is adapting to new technologies and practices to protect our environment and our workers. As editor Rod Link reports, Terrace laundromat owner John Heighington has brought in new technologies making drycleaning much safer and environmentally-friendly. Also, Vivian Chui in Vanderhoof tells us of the dramatic culture change instituted by Nechako Mechanical that has paid off in an impressive safety record. Again, we are pleased to bring these Northwest B.C. industry success stories to you. We hope you enjoy this issue of N2K. Todd Hamilton N2K Publisher publisher@thenorthernview.com

Out-of-area subscriptions now available e-mail: circulation@thenorthernview.com View our e-version for free at: www.thenorthernview.com/eeditions

NK 2

Volume 2 • Issue 10

February 2016


WEST COAST PROPANE AltaGas inks deal to build export terminal near Prince Rupert

CLEANING CLEANING Terrace launderer brings green technology to cleaning service industry


NOW THERE’S 2 Second group pursuing refinery nearKitimat


PORT SMITHERS Port influence extends well throughout Northwest B.C., just ask Smithers



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up to


jobs during construction

Why Does LNG Matter to Me? New local jobs will give young people and future generations more opportunities to stay in northern BC instead of having to move away to find good jobs. JOBS AND TRAINING We’re committed to hiring as many local workers as possible for construction and operations jobs at our facility. We are developing and supporting training programs for local people interested in working in the LNG sector. Pacific NorthWest LNG will create new vendor opportunities for businesses and contractors in the northwest. Information on training programs will be posted on our website PacificNorthWestLNG.com, as they become available.

Are you providing training before construction starts? Yes. We have already helped over 100 local people receive training through our Individual Training Program. To date Pacific NorthWest LNG has sponsored over 30 groups, initiatives or events related to education, employment or training, totaling over $600,000 in funding.

up to


long-term careers operating the facility



spinoff jobs in the community

Will I have to be a skilled tradesperson to get a job? No. A wide variety of jobs will be available during the construction and operations of the project, either through the construction contractor, PNW LNG, or local contractors. Here are just a few examples: During construction • Concrete finishers • Construction managers • Construction superintendents • Contracts and procurement managers • Crane operators • Truck drivers

• Engineers • Health and safety officers • Heavy equipment operators • Labourers • Office administration • Site security • Skilled tradespeople • Technical specialists

For more information, visit one of our community offices in Port Edward or Prince Rupert, PacificNorthWestLNG.com or call 250.622.2727.

During operations • Environmental management officers • Finance/accounting personnel • Gas process operators • Marine operations personnel • Office administration • Panel operators

• Plant managers and supervisors • Plant technicians • Regulatory and stakeholder relations • Security guards • Supply chain specialists • Terminal technicians • Warehouse, shipping and receiving personnel

Canadian Energy. Global Reach.


AltaGas inks deal to build West Coast’s first propane terminal


By Kevin Campbell

he West Coast of Canada’s first-ever propane export facility could be located at Ridley Terminals outside Prince Rupert. On Wednesday, Jan. 20, AltaGas Ltd. announced that it has signed into an agreement, including a sublease with Ridley Terminals, to develop, build, own and operate a terminal, called the Ridley Island Export Terminal, as an initial step in the regulatory approval and civic engagement processes to come in the future. A final investment decision by AltaGas is expected to come later in 2016, with propane export operations commencing in 2018 (as a target date). The proposal includes exporting 1.2 million tonnes of propane per year, which is expected to come from B.C. and Alberta natural gas producers. The CN rail network is expected to be the mode of transportation to deliver the propane to the facility on Ridley Island. “We are very excited about the opportunities presented by the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal,” David Cornhill, Chairman and CEO of AltaGas, said. “We anticipate this facility will be the first to export propane from British Columbia’s west coast, opening up new international markets for natural gas


“Ridley Terminals is encouraged by this concrete step to diversify products shipped from our facility.” - David Kirsop producers in Western Canada. We look forward to working closely with First Nations, governments, the community and other stakeholders to bring this project into operation,” he continued. Ridley Terminals Chief Operating Officer and President David Kirsop added that the diversification away from coal, Ridley’s main export, is a good sign for the economic well-being of the company. “Ridley Terminals is encouraged by this concrete step to diversify products shipped from our facilities while sustaining and creating new jobs in the community,” he said. See Page 8


Ridley Terminals, a federal crown corporation, currently exports metallurgical and thermal coal, and petroleum coke from B.C., Alberta and the United States to Asia. Ridley (RTI) is operating on leased lands from the Prince Rupert Port Authority and will sublease part of their land to AltaGas for this development. Construction costs for the facility are expected to be within the range of $400 million to $500 million and AltaGas presently “owns or has an interest in” six natural gas processing facilities in B.C. and Alberta that produce propane and AltaGas also operates a similar propane export facility in Ferndale, Washington. The diversification of Ridley Terminals also fits in with the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s (PRPA) mandate to have a multi-faceted gateway by the mid2020s that includes coal, LNG, container cargo, potash, grain, pellets and more. “This project aligns with the type of growth and diversification envisioned in the Port’s development plan, with the potential to advance Prince Rupert’s

“This project aligns with the type of growth and diversification envisioned in the Port’s development plan...” - Don Krusel support of Canadian export industries through our trade gateway” said PRPA President and CEO Don Krusel. AltaGas stated that preliminary engineering has been completed and the front end engineering and design study has begun, while the company has already begun engaging and consulting with First Nations communities, government and environmental and regulatory authorities about the project.

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Second oil refinery for Kitimat takes next step By Cameron Orr

A competing company aiming to build an oil refinery on Dubose Point — the exact same place David Black has been eyeing for his Kitimat Clean refinery plan — has submitted their project description to regulatory agencies. Pacific Future Energy, whose board of directors includes former International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, is planning a refinery which would produce up to 160,000 barrels a day of diesel, 40,000 barrels a day of gasoline, 13,000 a day of kerosene, and 10,000 a day of liquefied petroleum gas or propane. Butane would also be produced, they said. The company says it would need 3,500 people for construction and 1,000 for operations, adding construction could potentially begin in 2018 with a 2021 production start date. “This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern B.C., while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title,” said the company’s executive chairman Samer Salameh in a company news release. The company is boasting a number of benefits including what they call a “near net zero” carbon emissions.


“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern B.C. ...” - Samer Salameh The refinery would also be supplied by rail cars with cooled bitumen which the company has branded as “neatbit”, a peanut butter-like product that does not require a diluent as it would in a pipeline. The company says that material is stable and has low flammability. With the project description submitted the company says it will now begin working with First Nations, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, a process which will include public consultation and studies. See Page 10


“We will be listening very carefully to all of the feedback that we receive and will incorporate community concerns and values in our project’s design,” said CEO Robert Delamar. The value of the refinery is estimated at $15 billion. Black still moving forward Heading toward four years since David Black made his formal announcement of a plan to build an oil refinery near Kitimat he still speaks with an air of confidence that tells you he not only fully believes in the project but that he fully believes it will be realized too. As chairman of Black Press, the company which owns N2K and many other titles in Canada and the United States, he certainly received a fair share of skepticism with his ambitious plan which veers sharply from managing a newspaper chain. “There’s nothing negative about a refinery, it’s all positive,” Black told N2K. His proposal is called Kitimat Clean. He holds up a refinery as a far superior option to other companies’ plans to construct bitumen pipelines to carry unrefined product to port. A refinery adds value, adds jobs, and spills of refined product are dramatically better, comparatively, than unrefined oil. Black has been working hard but taking it slow on his proposal. Consultation with First Nations has been his priority and by now Black hopes to have submitted his project description with the provincial government, the first step to starting a formal environmental review, but he’s been having his engineers refine the plan and to submit the plans to area First Nations before any formal process begins with the government. He’s already created other options on the project which gives him flexibility if there are issues ahead. His original site plan is for a location called Dubose

between Kitimat and Terrace but he’s added a second option about eight kilometres closer to the Douglas Channel in the space between the Wedeene and Little Wedeene rivers. He wanted the new option because he wanted to anticipate if there could be concerns from the Kitselas First Nation. The Wedeene site is slightly closer to the Channel, and exists along the forest service road and the route of BC Hydro’s planned replacement line between Terrace and Kitimat. The new site is a bit further from the highway but with forest road access the highway isn’t a problem. “It’s a little further away from the highway but that’s not the most important thing for us,” he said, saying the road access will allow them to move in the modules of the refinery which will be manufactured overseas and shipped to Kitimat. The recent sharp drop in the price of oil has also not bothered Black greatly. His refinery, he says, will operate on a toll system, meaning he doesn’t buy the oil, the oil producers just buy capacity in the refinery, and they handle the rest, including finding customers. “[Low oil prices] doesn’t change it too much. I think they’re [producers] probably more motivated with low oil prices because what I want to do is charge a toll to the oil producers as opposed to the refinery buying the bitumen on the one hand and selling refined fuel on the other.” By using a toll system it effectively adds $6 of value to a barrel of oil for the producers too, he said. Black is still seeking to raise capital funds to see him through a government review and construction but getting the money isn’t the immediate pressing issue. Along with getting First Nations support he also wants to see louder support from the province. See Page 11

“They’re there quietly but I need them to become more champions so the federal government also becomes a champion,” he said. He had past support from the Prime Minister’s Office but with the new Liberal government he hasn’t been able to yet discuss the issue under Trudeau but Black said consultants are telling him it likely won’t be a problem even if he has to restart that process. The recently decision by the B.C. Liberals not to support the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline may also work in favour of Black’s refinery. “That will have quite an impact as well because the oil industry has been holding back in terms of throwing in with the refinery in the hopes they could get a pipeline through and just put it in tankers and not have to worry about anything,” he said. “But I’m sure they’re starting to lose hope now on their pipelines and that means they’ll be much more interested in talking to the refinery.” The Federal Liberal promise to enact a tanker ban on the north coast is also good he said, since that would serve limit the export of unrefined product. Assuming everything falls in to place Black thinks it could take two years to get to construction.



Vanderhoof company celebrates seven years of safety after dramatic change in work practices Nechako Mechanical is celebrating seven years of no losstime accidents, thanks to a work culture change introduced eight years ago. Part of the construction BID Group of Companies, the fabrication company in Vanderhoof underwent a change in its safety culture when Jody Volts, general manager of safety and environment of the BID Group, joined the company in 2007, said John Simoes, Nechako Mechanical’s fabrication manager of western Canada. “When Jody came here eight years ago, we had a different story to tell,” Simoes said. “He brought in a lot of practices that a lot of us didn’t even think about.” He added, “Or if we did think about it, we didn’t do


By Vivian Chui

anything about it.” Safety was something that was drilled first into management, but wasn’t passed into our employees, Simoes explained. “Now we do,” he said. The new safety education includes videos on proper personal protection equipment, demonstrations of what could happened, and literature on hazards, Simoes said. “We squeeze sausages into gloves and chop them in half,” he said. “If they do something stupid with a piece of steel, that’s what could happen if you put your fingers there.” At the beginning of each shift, the crew has a morning toolbox meeting, where they talk about what’s being done in

the shop, the item that’s being made, and any hazards that are associated with the task they are doing, Volts explained. “Job hazard analysis (JHA), every employee has to fill one out at the beginning of every shift to analyze his work and what dangers are involved, how he’s going to eliminate or control that hazard before he goes to work,” he said, adding that the employee fills out another JHA if his task changes during the day. “Because he’s now in a different area, and different work and different hazards are associated with it.” He added, “It’s all about self-awareness; look after yourselves, the employees around you.” One of the two major injuries the company’s shop faced are eye-related, which have been largely eliminated with new


procedures and the mandatory use of safety glasses and face shields, Volts said. Another major potential injury in the shop, and will continue to be major, concerns employees’ hands and fingers, due to the nature of their work, he said. “Because we’re a hands-on industry, we’re out there welding and cutting and picking up and moving steel,” he said. For shop supervisor Matt MacLeod, working with job distribution, the new procedures are a wakeup call for the employee, he said. See Page 14


“He has a take a second to look around, what his task is on the floor, and analyze and assess what he’s going to do,” MacLeod said. “And from there, hopefully with the information that we give them, and our safety toolbox meetings, they can pinpoint those hazards and assess them for themselves.” For machine shop supervisor Jason Fitzpatrick, the largest difference brought in by the new procedures is making the use of safety equipment mandatory, he said “You have to wear your glasses, you have to use a shield, your gloves,” Fitzpatrick said. “It used to be a choice — you have to decide for yourself before — now you can’t use a grinder without a face shield.” He added, “That reduces our injuries hugely.” The average age of Nechako Mechanical’s employees are about 23, Volts said. He added, “We always talk about how young the workforce is here.” Although the change in the company’s safety culture wasn’t easy for every one at the time, Nechako Mechanical’s predominantly younger workforce made the transition less difficult, Simoes said. “It’s easier to mould them into safety, than people that have been out doing poor safety practices all their lives,” he explained. Twenty-three out of 57 employees on the shop floor are currently in various stages of the apprenticeship

program, which began with one apprentice along with the company’s inception in 1989, Simoes said. “We basically started out of necessity,” he said. “We didn’t have enough trades people in Vanderhoof, so we decided the best way is to get young people and we’ll train them and send them to school.” First initiated by Brian Fehr, David Fehr, and Bob Derksen, who founded BID’s original construction firm, the apprenticeship program in Nechako Mechanical trained about 115 people over the years, out of 200 in total within BID, Simoes explained. Young people who come looking for work and interested in an apprenticeship are given the choice of machining, fabricating, and millwright at the shop. “If I don’t see the aptitude, we have a talk and say, ‘Look, I think you’re better suited to be [something else,]’” he said. While working, apprentices are sent to school in Prince George or Vancouver once or twice a year for “book stuff.” With 6,600 hours of work experience, the four-year apprenticeship program provides employees with a Red Seal, an inter-provincial and territorial standard for certified tradespeople. Many graduates of the program, including machine shop supervisor Jason Fitzpatrick, started from high school and work as tradesmen at the company today, Simoes said.

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Terrace launderer goes green ... and clean


By Rod Link

ohn Heighington swings open the glass-faced door of the drycleaning machine right after it has finished a cleaning cycle. “Here. Smell anything?” Other than the sensation of heat, nothing. Particularly not that faintly-chemical smell familiar to anyone who has ever entered a drycleaners. And that’s the idea. From an older machine which used the standard drycleaning industry standard formulation called PERC, short for perchlorethylene, Heighington’s new machine now in use at his Spotless Cleaners outlet in Terrace uses a formula which uses lighter-based hydrocarbon solvents. “PERC’s been the industry standard for years. Eighty years at least. Actually, the first solvent in drycleaning was kerosene,” explains Heighington. But PERC is going out of favour not only as awareness of chemical use evolves but how the equipment itself has changed. “Now the industry has shifted to a tight, closed system for 100 per cent of the cycle,” says Heighington. That, combined with hydro-carbons makes


“I don’t want our footprint to be any heavier than it should be.” - John Heighington drycleaning safer environmentally, reducing hazards for employees and others. “I don’t want our footprint to be any heavier than it should be,” said Heighington. “It was the right thing to do.” This particular machine has a completely closed-in system where the hydrocarbon cleaning solution is recycled and water and dirt pumped out to containers for disposal. From Italy, the cost was approximately $60,000. Heighington does expect the machine to be relatively underutilized for the local and regional market. See Page 16


“I’d say this will be used about one-tenth of time compared to what it would be in Vancouver,” he said. “We want to be a well-rounded business offering laundry, drycleaning, what people expect,” Heighington added of why he purchased the new machine. The hydrocarbon machine is also the first of its kind in Western Canada to have the option of using heat in the cleaning process. “Heated hydrocarbon can take a stain out easier and the end result is better cleaning,” Heighington explains. By his count, this new machine is the 12th in a line of machines his family has used here since moving to Terrace in 1966. Not many northern B.C. businesses can trace their roots back to the Royal Navy of the late 1880s but Heighington can. That was when great great grandfather James joined the Royal Navy at the age of 13 and found himself working in a ship’s laundry. “That’s where he learned the laundry business and that’s where it started,” said Heighington. From England, the elder Heighington and his wife moved to the Bittern Lake area of central Alberta where they took up homesteading in the early 1900s. But they escaped three winters by travelling to Florida to work at a Tampa hotel, earning enough money so that James could go back to his beginnings by opening up a laundry. Two sons joined the enterprise, James and Frank, but they left to start a sawmill. Frank then moved to Edmonton to work in the Royal Alexander Hospital laundry before

persuading Frank to join him in a new laundry venture called Superior Linen. James was killed in an industrial accident when he was caught up in a motor-driven belt he was repairing. “I heard he had every bone broken,” said Heighington of the accident. The business continued until the 1930s Depression forced its closure and the equipment was stored on the family’s Bittern Lake homestead until the late 1940s. That’s when a new generation, another Heighington called James and brother Norman packed it up and took it to Prince George. One branch of the family has stayed in Prince George to develop a successful large-scale laundry enterprise. It was Norman, John’s father, who took one branch of the family Terrace. Since establishing roots here in 1966, a round of purchasing of competitors and name shifts have taken place over the years, resulting in Superior Linen becoming established as a large-scale commercial cleaner with Spotless Cleaners being the retail dry cleaning/laundry component in two locations. Heighington has just finished closing one of the retail locations on Lakelse and is consolidating his retail operations in the Spotless building on Lazelle which also contains an embroidery section. Operating retail services from one location makes the overall business more efficient in that when employees aren’t busy with one aspect of the business, they can work on another.


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ituated halfway between the Port of Prince Rupert and Prince George, the town of Smithers is the hub of the Bulkley Valley region. Since the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway reached the north coast more than 100 years ago, Smithers has remained a logistically important community to the railroad industry. The Canadian National Railway Station in Smithers is recognized as one of Canada’s Historic Places. As the oldest building in the community it signifies the economic impact of railway development in Canada. Today, the community’s forestry industry relies on rail to bring increasing volumes of local lumber to the Port of Prince Rupert and on to Asian markets. OJ Egan is a quality control supervisor at West Fraser’s Pacific Inland Resources, a sawmill that has been one of the largest employers in the community for decades. Born and raised in Smithers, OJ and his brother Bill are both second-generation mill workers who enjoyed many years of work alongside their father before he retired several years ago. OJ’s formal career with West Fraser began more than 20 years ago after completing high school, starting out at a


“We’re even busier now than five years ago.” - OJ Egan base job rate and working his way through the production line. The opportunity to build a long-term career starting from an entry-level position is still there for today’s workforce. Currently more than 40 of Pacific Inland Resources 240 staff are over the age of 55, which means that dozens of positions will open up as employees look to retire in the next few years. “You can build a great career here, and with the aging workforce the younger guys and girls coming in have a real opportunity,” said OJ. See Page 18


“We’re even busier now than five years ago, and you can see how West Fraser is really adapting to changes in the industry. And one of the benefits of being close to Prince Rupert and the port is that we were able to take advantage of the Chinese market in the American downturn.” Roughly 30 per cent of the mill’s production now moves through Prince Rupert’s Fairview Container Terminal and on to the markets of Asia. That figure is poised to increase as softwood exports to China grow to record volumes and the country begins to embrace the use of highergrade lumber for wood-frame construction and interior finishing. In addition to the opportunities created by a rebounding forest sector, with new development at the Port of Prince Rupert the next generation of Smithereens will also have the ability to pursue rewarding careers in areas such as resource extraction and transportation and logistics without leaving home. Like their father before them, OJ Egan’s kids show an interest in his work, and his oldest son is currently taking advantage of West Fraser’s weekend clean-up program for high school students. “This industry has given me the opportunity to raise four kids quite comfortably,” says OJ. “I live in a place where 20 minutes from my back door is everything you could possibly want to do. I know I’ve been fortunate to have a great run over the last 20 years, and with everything that’s happening right now between here and Prince Rupert, I’m hopeful my kids will too.”

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Phase 2 expansion of the Fairview Container Terminal is underway

Surveying the


Mark Rossmann establishes a legal survey monument during a mineral tenure survey at BruceJack mine. Full Story on Page 20.


Rebecca Broten, BCLS, locates a wooden legal survey monument which was set in 1892 during a subdivision in the Hungry Hill area near Smithers.

Smithers surveying firm’s diversification pays off


By Xuyun Zeng

rom private land owners to big corporations, HBH Land Surveying Inc. has worked with all of them in delimiting land. The 27-year-old Smithers company has seen its business scope expand ever since its founding partner Stephen Howard opened it as S. Howard and Associates. Howard initially focused on legal land surveying, but now their work includes engineering, construction and other types of survey. “Since that time, our expansion has largely been in work volume. Our work volume has increased three times,” said director Rebecca Broten. Most of their business comes from private land owners hoping to divide up their land. “The people who live in this part of the country like living here, and they work hard to stay here. So when the farm becomes too much, they’ll often cut it if they can,” said Broten. HBH Land Surveying would then take them through the process which starts with examining the property in areas such as burdens, zoning and legal aspects. HBH Land Surveying then contacts the respective government authorities and helps the client address the terms and conditions each government body outlays, which can include building a sewer system and providing


“You don’t start a survey in a day.” - Rebecca Broten

access to lands beyond. “So it’s a lot of back-and-forth,” said Broten. “By the time we get to the ground, and actually start the field survey, we’re usually at least four months into the process, very often we can be years into the process and by that point the applicant has moved through a number of hurdles.” “You don’t start a survey in a day.” After all these conditions are fulfilled, HBH Land Surveying then applies for new titles. The company has also delved into nascent areas in surveying in the North, including condominium developments such as the Ptarmigan Meadows. “That’s Smithers biggest strata development,” said Broten. “Strata developments within town are a fairly new thing to the North. The first one I did was in 2010, and that was the first one that had been done for a long time.” See Page 21


They have also contributed to the first co-housing development in Hazelton, where residents own not only the house, but also hold ownership of shared facilities. “That seems to be a new trend too, as we get people increasing in age,” said Broten. “People are looking at retiring in a spot where they have their own house but they have access to more social interaction with friends.” Broten feels especially proud of her work under the Mineral Tenure Act. HBH Land Surveying works with mines going to lease, figures out what their clients need and liaises with the gold commissioner and Land Title and Survey Authority and surveyor general’s office. “It’s a specialty, and we figured last year that we did about half of them in the province,” she said. HBH Land Surveying covers a large area that spans from the Yukon-British Columbia border in the north to Terrace in the west and Prince George in the east, working mostly along the highways. “That’s where the lands are. Anything to do with private land, obviously, is more clustered towards Highway 16. There’s not a lot of private land holding on Highway 37. Highway 37 — our work — we’ve done a number of contracts with Ministry of Transportation, a lot of that Highway hasn’t even been surveyed out.” The company also prides itself on operating as an independent. “In the land surveying industry, a company this size

“In the land surveying industry, a company this size existing as a solo entity ... it’s very unusual.” - Rebecca Broten existing as a solo entity ... it’s very unusual,” she said. “What’s happening with survey companies everywhere is the larger companies are buying up the smaller companies.” Broten believes operating independently allows HBH Land Surveying to better serve communities in the North. “It allows us to continue servicing everybody,” said Broten. “We don’t want to get in a position where we’re told to drop certain clients. That’s not what we do.” She has seen big companies buy small land surveying firms and subsequently shut them down, depriving that community of a land surveyor, forcing people requiring those services to hire an expensive out-oftown surveyor. “We’re happy to stay here and we’re happy to stay independent,” she said. “Having somebody local, having access to that allows everyone to benefit.”


Keane makes LNG case in Burns Lake


By Andrea Currie

urns Lake had the opportunity to learn more about the burgeoning liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and its potential effect on the community when David Keane, president of the B.C. LNG Alliance was invited to have lunch at the Burns Lake Chamber of Commerce. Keane believes B.C. is in a solid position to create a strong LNG industry; he described the advantages specific to B.C., including our relative proximity to Asian markets and the province’s abundance of natural gas. The alliance hopes that the LNG industry will be in prime position to supply China and their growing energy needs, which Keane predicts will fuel a 50 per cent increase in energy demand, 25 per cent of that could come from LNG. Currently there are 22 proposed LNG projects listed on the government of British Columbia’s website, Keane believes that the actual number of facilities built will more likely be around 5-7: “When the province says that there might be 22 different facilities that are going to get built, that’s simply not going to happen, and what it does is it gets environmental groups, First Nations groups, and a lot of people running around in Vancouver drinking their lattés all excited,” he said.

Keane explained how the construction of one large LNG facility could contribute as much as just less than $1 billion a year in terms of taxes to all levels of government. “If we get one plant built we’re looking at one of the biggest investments in B.C., if you have three or four of these going then you have the largest investment in Canada, even in comparison to the tar sands”. Keane pointed out that LNG and First Nation consultation will be a win-win scenario. “Rather than looking at First Nations as a challenge, I think First Nations provide us with a real opportunity to really help them help our industry and achieve something that has never been done before, to provide First Nations with a real long-term sustainable economic benefit”. Keane added LNG trades opportunities will not be short-term. “You have to look at the trades like they’re a career, it’s not ‘I’m going to be a welder today and whatever tomorrow’, it’s ‘I’m going to be a welder and have a longterm career in this’, but it may not be that you can work in Burns Lake for the rest of your life, it may mean that you may have to work in eastern Canada, or Columbia or the Middle East,” Keane said.

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N2K - February 2016  


N2K - February 2016