REPORTING · 21st January 2013
Peace Trailer Industries (PTI) was in Kitimat on Wednesday, January 16th at the Rod and Gun Club to present on their Hospitality Lodge. The Entire City Council was out to see what they were bringing to the town. Lori Johnson, the Community Relations Coordinator, introduced the evening.
“We are North America’s Largest Fully Integrated Supplier of Workforce Accommodations. By Fully Integrated means, we design them, we build them, we install them and then we operate them. We use our own money to do these things. We have over 30,000 rooms globally and we own every one of them,” said Ron Green, CEO and President of PTI.
Green Explained PTI is based in Edmonton and operates in Canada, the United States and Australia. They have facilities around the world. They employ 3000 people in Canada and 4000 worldwide.
PTI has four manufacturing plants in North America and two in Australia. PTI is a subsidiary of a U.S. based Company.
“We provide continual benefits to our local communities. We are very big on trying to provide legacy benefits getting communities going. We have been very fortunate to work successfully with Aboriginal Communities,” said Green.
He expressed they have won two awards for Aboriginal affairs and training First Nations people. Their preference is to hire and train local and they are accredited to provide certification for those who work with them. They do not have a high skilled labour requirement which means they can offer opportunity for youth who want to stay and work local. They employ 200-300 local people.
Sean Crockett, Vice President of Business Development was the next presenter. He expressed he been to Kitimat many times in 2012 getting to know the community.
“It’s our vision to build, own and operate a premier workforce accommodations facility to really enable the economic development and growth opportunities that the District is facing and to support that employment world. Our goal is to be a part of the solution for a District that is facing rapid economic growth, to create long term employment and operations as well as in the construction phase of our project and to establish a development approach which is consistent with the District of Kitimat’s long term vision and official community plan,” said Crockett.
He explained the facility they wish to build in Kitimat is a 2100 person facility and they are working to acquire the zoning and land for this facility. The goal is to have it within 5 minutes walking distance of the downtown core to the east of the Hospital and it will be developed in phases to support the needs of the projects as they come online. They would like their guests to be able to support local businesses in Kitimat. They also want to the facility to appeal to the people of Kitimat. It was expressed later in the evening it will not look the same as the camps which are being built in town.
PTI works to house and feed workers over multiple projects. They employ people in food services, housekeeping and maintenance. Normally, they do work in remote parts of the world where they do not have access to services and must provide their own potable water and waste water treatment. However, they will be closer to town in this case.
Crockett expressed if they do build a facility, they will work with the community on projects to better the community. He stated they do not wish to interfere with the view of the Douglas Channel and make the buildings appealing to the community, whether they are one or three story buildings.
The buildings include outdoor spaces, meeting spaces and social spaces for the workers to gather and form groups based on their interests, which include martial arts groups, yoga groups and church groups. Rather than have a dining room, they build a food court so their guests have choices.
“When you’re competing to attract a high quality work force and retain that work force, giving them choices is one of the ways we think you can drive that,” said Crockett.
The facility is planned to have two types of rooms geared towards single occupancy, one is a standard room and a deluxe room. The deluxe room is larger and geared towards management. Both rooms have private bathrooms.
Green expressed they were not building a camp, they were building a lodge. They aspire to be a three star hotel which accommodates workforces.
Into the questions and answer period, Green told the public they were in the process of discussion with the Kitimat City Council about building seniors housing. He pointed out seniors requirements for housing which are similar to what they provide. It is not a part of the initial proposal but they are discussing it and Green wishes to be able to do it. All the sites will have rooms which are accessible by the disabled. They build to municipal standards.
It was pointed out PTI did work on the preliminary stages for the Seniors Housing Project which was built in Terrace built near George Little House.
While they will not be buying food local, as their requirements would clean out a grocery store, PTI does allows local merchants to use their buying power to support their stores in the community, which does drive prices lower.
There were other questions about the overall appearance, the structure and who would be staying in one. The presentation lasted an hour before it was over. PTI will be opening an office in City Centre Mall where people can go and get further information about the project. The office will be located on the upper level of the mall, next to the bathrooms.