Clearwater town council has approved a three-year temporary use permit that will permit Clusko Properties Ltd. to build a logging camp on land it owns near Camp Two Road.
The camp would be across the road from the company’s existing building.
There is a shortage of motel rooms in Clearwater, particularly in summer, Clusko owner Arnold Bremner told council.
The logging company has 65 employees working in Clearwater, of which about 10 are local.
“We would hire more locals if there were more locals to hire,” he said, saying that lack of training is a problem.
Quite a few of his workers live in Barriere and formerly worked for Stamer Logging, which has now shut down. Others come from Salmon Arm, Prince George and elsewhere in B.C.
It would not help to go to the other three large contractors in the area and try to steal their employees, he said.
At present, several Clusko workers are staying in Little Fort.
This adds extra kilometres for them to travel before and after long shifts, which he did not feel is safe.
The company has looked at acquiring a mobile home park for its workers but that deal is still in the works, he said.
Now in its fourth season in Clearwater, Clusko is committed to being a part of the community and sponsors such organizations as 4H and minor hockey, Bremner said.
Originally from Prince George, Clusko has been described as the biggest logging contractor in the province, with major operations in Williams Lake and Kelowna as well as in Clearwater.
Local resident Debbie Downey spoke against the motion, saying it would lead to a “Fort Mac” situation, in which people live in camp while here but have their homes elsewhere.
“What is the benefit to the community?” she asked. “There is no commitment to the longterm, so why would we do it?”
Councillor Merlin Blackwell noted that there is a tight rental market in Clearwater and much of what is available is not suitable for singles or small families.