Infrastructure, crime just some of the issues facing worker camps

Among the concerns raised was the wear and tear on infrastructure that’s owned and maintained by municipalities in the regional district including municipal services such as water, sewage, airport traffic and landfills.

Beamish explains when it’s unknown how many camps there are, where they are located, how long they will be there for or how many people there are, it becomes a challenge to plan for infrastructure upgrades, maintenance and service.

Given that workers are temporary, they do not contribute to local taxes, even though they use associated services in the region, like health care. Low wage jobs also have difficulty being filled compared to industry jobs, which leads to foreign workers filling those positions. Beamish argues this leads to challenges as it relates to language and cultural difference; however it was noted that it was positive to have diversity in workers.

It was also brought to the attention of the PRRD that there is also conflicting information as it related to crime. People felt as though crime was on the rise, and there were issues having to do with violence. At the same time, RCMP data shows falling crime consistently over a number of years.

Interviewees felt that a number of things could be done to resolve the issues presented, including setting up an agency to streamline work in the industry. An inter-agency round table was suggested, with belief that the Regional District should have a seat in the round table so they could give a voice to, consult with and support communities. It was also noted that people felt that more provincial leadership is needed on issues of concern, as well as an improved relationship with the Oil and Gas Commission.

Beamish says that while there were a variety of responses throughout the process, missing information and a lack of sharing made it difficult to paint a complete picture of the positives and negatives surrounding worker camps.

“There’s various opinions around worker camps, and various impressions of worker camps, and the impacts of worker camps in the region,” Beamish explains. “But there are some consistent themes, and those themes include a lack of information, a lack of shared jurisdiction, and a lack of sharing between organizations, and that’s a big part of the problem we see here.”