Not only will there be hundreds of guests in town for the Teck Trail shutdown, for the first time ever, they’ll all be off on Sundays.
That means Trail visitors will be looking for something to do and places to eat on their day off, and likely searching for places to catch up on the inevitable, like laundry.
This boon for local business only comes every four years. Though it is a first for Audry Durham from the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce, as she started her head position after the last major shutdown in 2014.
All summer she’s been giving local businesses the heads up that 800 contract employees will be here in early fall, so more staff and opening an extra day could be in their best interest.
On top of that, the chamber has a compiled a list of accommodations from Trail to Fruitvale as well as a business guide of establishments open on Sundays. The business guide with Sunday hours will be included in the contractors’ induction package.
Interestingly, only 166 rooms and 41 RV sites are available from Trail to Beaver Valley, not including tent sites or the Champion Lakes campground.
(Durham said lodging details for Rossland were not available)
To further house the workers, Durham has the chambers in Castlegar and Nelson also giving their accommodation providers the heads up that hundreds of workers are on their way.
“This started a few months ago with Catherine Adair (Teck Trail Community Relations Leader),” Durham told the Trail Times. “Never has it happened in shutdown history that contractors get Sunday off. I thought, ‘oh shoot’ I don’t feel good about sending them just to fast food, so we started recruiting members to open and staff their places.
“We put all that together on what I call a flat sheet, to welcome new people to town. We’ll be including those in the induction, and in the welcome bags for some upcoming conferences.”
She’s been sharing another tourism-related message with local businesses as well.
“I’ve been telling everyone that 70 per cent of tourists, in this case workers, will visit a place before they move there,” Durham said with a smile. “So there is real potential with these guys, if we treat them nice.”
The company announced Wednesday that the maintenance shutdown is scheduled to run from mid-September through to early November.
“Teck Trail Operations will be undertaking a major maintenance shutdown this fall to ensure the continued reliability of our operations,” the release read.
“The maintenance shutdown will entail an investment of $55 million and involves a number of different contract companies. The work will be completed by Teck employees and approximately 800 contract employees.”
Work will be primarily focused on the lead smelter, though maintenance will also be undertaken at other parts of the operation during the planned downtime.
Given the large number of contractors that will be on site, health and safety considerations for the project include a full safety management team, employee training and development of specialized equipment and job site procedures.
“As in all our work, our priority for the maintenance shutdown will be on the health and safety of our employees and contractors,” stated Thompson Hickey, General Manager. “This work is essential to ensuring the continued economic success and environmental performance of Trail Operations.”
Multiple local contracting companies will be engaged throughout the project.
Additionally, Teck Trail Operations will be working with specialist contract companies from outside the area who will have a chance to enjoy the region’s hotels, restaurants and other amenities.
Major maintenance shutdowns occur approximately every four years, with the previous shutdown in 2014.