September 16, 2013
Many resource projects on the horizon
View from the Board | Philip Hochstein
Construction companies can see a bright future on the horizon thanks to the massive resource projects just around the corner.
These projects, moving through different approval processes at various stages, are each large projects that will drive construction jobs.
Taken together, they have the potential to drive a boom the likes of which our province and our industry have never seen.
First up are the liquefied natural gas or LNG proposals.
There are nine of them and they are some of the largest projects in provincial history.
Just one, the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, has a $10 billion price tag.
That is the same cost as four Port Mann Bridge and highway upgrades.
Each of these projects has a pipeline component.
And there are the two multi-billion dollar pipeline proposals in the works – the twinning of the TransCanada line in southern B.C. and the Enbridge Northern Gateway in the north.
Then there are the mine proposals, like Taseko’s New Prosperity Project in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
The B.C. electorate sent a clear message in the May provincial election – they elected a government that came down on the side of responsible resource development.
They want to harness the power of these projects to drive the economy and create jobs – many of them in the construction business.
What kind of impacts are we looking at?
Let’s take just the New Prosperity Project during its 20-year lifespan as an example.
It will drive $11 billion in economic activity.
It will generate a further $9 billion in consumer spending. Residential investments will be almost $800 million. The industrial and commercial construction price tag will be more than $1 billion and another $1.4 billion will go to machinery and equipment investments away from the mine.
Construction on the project will create 700 jobs and it’s a safe bet that the 500 jobs at the mine and the 1,280 spinoff jobs in the region will drive even more construction.
All of these jobs will boost all kinds of businesses – grocery stores, gas stations, lawyers offices, drug stores, beauty salons, hardware stores.
All of them will need office and retail space. And the families will need homes.
The project will also help government build public infrastructure.
Victoria will pull in an extra $5.5 billion in tax revenue over the life of the project. Some of that is certain to go to roads, schools, and hospitals.
But, can construction can seize the opportunities presented by projects like New Prosperity to build more than infrastructure? Can they be leveraged to build the skills of the next generation of the workforce?
When construction companies are confident there will be work down the road, they will take on young workers and train them.
It’s a growing economy and the future looks bright for skills training in B.C. These private infrastructure projects have the potential to unleash unprecedented economic growth in B.C. Our industry needs to support them to make sure they move forward.
Philip Hochstein is the president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia. Phil is also a member of the Journal of Commerce Editorial Advisory Board. Send comments or questions to email@example.com.
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These projects have been selected from 321 projects with a total value of $20,605,386,875 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Friday.
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