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Posted: May 31, 2022

FortisBC gas line upgrade work continues

FortisBC is returning to work in the East Kootenay for a third year as part of the five-year-long Inland Gas Upgrades (IGU) project and some local businesses stand to benefit

“We continually look for ways to work with and support local businesses, Indigenous groups and community organizations,” said Scott Bartlett, project director. “We also hold our prime contractor accountable to this commitment and have built reporting criteria for this into our contract.”

The utility’s commitment to supporting B.C. and local businesses is evident in the numbers and shows the IGU project team’s targeted procurement, investment, training and employment efforts are paying off. In 2021 the utility contracted 190 BC-based vendors for the project which equated to $38.5M in expenditures with 37% of that being spent in the communities local to the project.

“In the project’s first year [2020] we worked in three communities, including Sparwood and Cranbrook, and the project spent $1.7 million locally with 44% of that to Indigenous suppliers,” states Bartlett. “In 2021, this increased to $14.2 million across seven communities, including five in the Kootenays, and 66% of that was to Indigenous vendors.”

Bartlett says its collaboration with Cranbrook-based ProActive Safety & First Aid (pictured right) is a prime example of how FortisBC can work with local business to maximize benefits beyond a vendor relationship.

“We contracted ProActive to provide safety services for our Kootenay work sites, and together we developed an Indigenous employment and training opportunity,” reflects Bartlett. “The IGU project funded the one-year safety officer internship for a member of the Ktunaxa Nation and ProActive oversaw the intern’s training.”

In addition to working with local businesses, FortisBC looks for community investment opportunities that will provide lasting community benefits long after the IGU project is complete.

Some recent examples include supporting the development of the Elkford Meeting Place and contributing to enhancing the Cranbrook Community Forest by funding a trail maintenance program, a designated trailhead and an adaptive trail project for improved accessibility within the CCF.

FortisBC says it plans to build on the success of the past two years and looks forward to supporting new communities and opportunities in the future.

Photos courtesy Fortis BC


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