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John Hart jobs generate big interest

Prospective companies and workers meet with the main contractors behind the $1 billion BC Hydro project to rebuild the John Hart Generating Station while at the Maritime Heritage Centre. - Paul Rudan/The Mirror
Prospective companies and workers meet with the main contractors behind the $1 billion BC Hydro project to rebuild the John Hart Generating Station while at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
— image credit: Paul Rudan/The Mirror

There was no shortage of interest, but the head man on the billion-dollar project to reconstruct the John Hart Generating Station wonders if there will be enough skilled workers.

“More miners…and people with similar skill sets,” says Wally Penner as he surveys the steady stream of company representatives passing by in the Maritime Heritage Centre.

Penner is the regional project manager for InPower, the company set up by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. to oversee construction of the BC Hydro project to build a new underground generating station and blast a 2.1-kilometre intake tunnel.

On Monday and Tuesday, Penner was at the business event in Campbell River where prospective supply companies, contractors and skilled workers were provided with project overviews and a chance to meet with the people in charge.

“This isn’t a job fair,” points out BC Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson. Rather, this is just another part of the long process involving major projects and this is more like a speed-dating session for potential partnerships.

At a recent Campbell River Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Penner told the packed house the goal is to spend nearly $200-million on supply contracts  and to keep that within a 100-kilometre range.

The project will also need to attract skilled labour, most likely from jobs in northern B.C. and Alberta.

Nevertheless, the business event was filled to capacity. Approximately 240 companies were on the guest list and about 600 job seekers.

According to Watson, companies and individuals who didn’t make it to the event can learn more at cr.majorprojects.ca

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