Pipes for the Trans Mountain pipeline project are seen at a storage facility near Hope, B.C., on September 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Pipes for the Trans Mountain pipeline project are seen at a storage facility near Hope, B.C., on September 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Trans Mountain boom means few rooms to let

Keith McNeill

Clearwater Times

Some out-of-town teams were unable to attend the U15 hockey tournament at the Sportsplex recently because they couldn’t find accommodation in Clearwater.

Mayor and council raised concerns about the situation Nov. 16, saying the Trans-Mountain pipeline project means there are fewer hotel and motel rooms available to visitors.

District Coun. Lucy Taylor said while Clearwater won the tournament, the lack of accommodation in town “might have longer-term impacts.

“Clearwater has had a good reputation for hosting tournaments,” she said.

Mayor Merlin Blackwell said the mayors of Valemount and McBride have told him that after Trans Mountain finished its expansion project through Jasper and Mount Robson parks in 2008 there were serious repercussions for the tourism industry in those communities.

Before the project began, for instance, snowmobilers from the Prairie provinces filled nearly every hotel and motel room during the winters. After the project started, pipeline workers occupied nearly all of those rooms, meaning snowmobilers and other travelers often could not find a place to stay.

It took Valemount and McBride five years to rebuild their tourism industry, Blackwell said. With the Trans Mountain expansion project now underway, tourism operators in those two communities are leaving space for snowmobilers and other travelers, even if it means leaving rooms empty that otherwise could be rented to pipeline workers.

“They want to keep those winter tourists coming, whether snowmobilers or skiers. We haven’t learned that lesson here and that’s a big mistake,” he said.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

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