Being built to house workers for the LNG Canada project, the town-sized Cedar Valley Lodge will have 4,500 rooms and will feature an entertainment and recreation complex with a movie theatre. Image: LNG Canada

Kitimat, B.C.: LNG Canada Megaproject Begins to Take Shape

One year ago, the partners behind LNG Canada formally sanctioned the $40 billion project. Today, roughly 1,000 workers are on site in Kitimat, B.C. – about half of them from the Kitimat-Terrace area – and that’s just to set the stage for the main construction phase, which isn’t expected to start for another couple of years.

Last week, Business in Vancouver toured the project in Kitimat, which is booming, according to Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth.

“It’s definitely buzzing,” he said. “The hotels are full, there’s another brand new hotel that’s being built. There’s a brand new 35-unit townhouse development being done.”

Located at the mouth of Douglas Channel, next to the recently upgraded Rio Tinto aluminum smelter – the scale of which is impressive in its own right – the LNG Canada site at 400 hectares is about the size of 550 soccer fields.

At the north end, the Cedar Valley Lodge, a self-contained work village that will house up to 4,500 workers, is starting to take shape, while at the south end, dredging barges are busy scooping up sediment – some of it contaminated from historical industrial activities – to deepen the channel for LNG carriers. The dredging alone currently employs about 150 workers.

In between these two bookends is the main site, where a battalion of more than 70 pieces of earthworks machinery – dump trucks, graders, excavators – has already moved about one-third of the 2.8 million cubic metres of fill needed to prepare the site.

If you ground up the Great Pyramid of Giza, it wouldn’t quite provide all the fill that’s needed.

On site are 6,000 40-metre steel pilings, made in Turkey. They will be driven into the ground to support the LNG complex, which will include two LNG processing modules, known as trains.

In July 2021, LNG modules that will be built in Asia are expected to arrive. That is when most of the tradespeople – electricians, welders, pipefitters – will be mobilized to start putting it all together. Peak construction will be between 2022 and 2024.

“That’s when the skyline of the project changes every day, virtually,” said LNG Canada general manager Vince Kenny, who spent the last five years on an LNG project in Australia. “It’s quite an intense couple of years.”

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