Although the primary focus of concern in the area was for the workers who were locked out for nearly six-months, local contractors trying to start or complete construction projects during the dispute were also dealing with the effects of the lockout.
Now, nearly one month since FortisBC and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 213 settled the labour issue through binding arbitration, local builders say things are approaching business as normal.
Construction contractor, Kevin Fairweather, of K2 Construction, commented on the effect the lockout was having on business in a July article for the Times, (Fortis lockout creating ripple effect, Trail Times, July 26) and now says that the situation was handled well by the company and any current effects are minimal.
“A couple of days after the article came out I got a call from one of the Fortis managers who gave me a number and told me to call if we had any problems,” Fairweather said.
“I’m not sure who they had doing the work but they stepped up their game as well as they could given the circumstances. Now, if we call for a disconnect or a house livening up they get to us in a reasonable amount of time. They’re pretty much at the status quo.”
Fairweather allowed that the construction industry can be largely seasonal in nature and demand isn’t as high at this point but that his company isn’t experiencing noticeable delays.
Real estate developers in the area were keenly aware of the effect on their business, focussing entirely on new house construction for eager buyers wanting to move in to their newly purchased home.
“We were running generators right up until about December 20,” said Cary Fisher, general manager of Redstone Resort. “But I think the guys being back to work has been really good. Things are pretty much back to normal.”
Local electrical companies, with their obvious reliance on the services performed by the utility, may have been slightly more conscious of the effects of the lockout but are also feeling better about the current situation.
“It’s not quite there yet but they’re on their way back to normal,” said Brad Smith, of Ital Electric. “There’s not a lot going on right now but I have one job I’ve been trying to schedule for awhile. I had it scheduled during the lockout but then it ended so it didn’t happen so I guess they’re still getting re-organized. I’m just glad they figured it out.”