There’s a flurry of activity at the Coyote Rock development south of Williams Lake.
For two weeks Lake Excavating has been clearing land for the Williams Lake Indian Band project which will see a new frontage road, 10 commercial lots, 28 residential lots and a new reservoir above the existing golf course.
“So far six of our band members are working every single day,” smiled Coun. Willie Sellars as he waved at the driver of a haul truck coming up from an area being cleared.
“Our band members are running haul trucks, operating equipment and doing site running.”
Every day as the project gets bigger more people are being added to the work force from his community, he said.
“We have an employment list with people chomping at the bit to work.”
Down the road some band members will be trained to do surveying and fence building.
The band’s economic development officer Kirk Dressler said Lake Excavating has donated $50,000 to an education fund for training.
“We are in the second week of a 16-week construction program,” Dressler explained.
The new development and its reservoir will tie into the existing water and sewer infrastructure at Sugar Cane.
A new water treatment centre that has been in the works for three years will be fully commissioned in a couple of months, meaning residents at the reserve will no longer be under the boil water advisory they’ve had forever, Sellars said.
Existing power lines will be relocated closer to the highway, along with lines for cable and natural gas.
Once they are ready for building, the quarter of an acre residential lots will fall under the First Nation land management, which means they are leased, Dressler explained.
“We aren’t under the Indian Act so there’s more flexibility for us to create terms for leases. We expect the leases will be for 99 years.”
The project is excellent for the Williams Lake area, said Lake Excavating owner Trevor Seibert.
“This is a beautiful piece of property,” he said as he stood outside his onsite shipping container office and looked out toward the lake below.
His company has been pursuing joint ventures with WLIB for more than a year and began partnering for projects at Gibraltar and Mount Polley Mines.
In fact, since the Aug. 4, 2014 tailings impoundment breach at Mount Polley, the two entities have been partnering to do restoration work.
“Here at Coyote Rock there’s a real opportunity for people to learn,” Seibert said. “There’s a better variety so they will get to do different things.”
With offices in Vancouver and Alberta, Lake Excavating is able to move employees around to different work sites, he added.
“Once they have the training, they can go anywhere. There aren’t many companies that will take people with no experience and train them.”
Crews are working seven days a week, 12 hours a day, on a four days on and four days off rotation.
Recently the band reach an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation for the delivery of the frontage road to coincide with the highway upgrade planned for the vicinity, Dressler said.