Housing situation getting desperate for incoming tradespeople
The warnings had been issued as early as two years ago, and now push has become shove.
Hundreds of skilled workers are descending on the Energy City and they have no place to stay.
Saskatchewan’s Provincial Building Trades business manager Terry Parker said that some tradespeople are commuting daily between Regina and Estevan simply because they cannot find any local accommodations. The skilled tradespeople are arriving from all across Canada to go to work on the nearby carbon dioxide capture and sequestration projects and they’d like to live in Estevan or nearby communities, but are having a hard time finding spaces.
“This will be going on for the next five years,” said Parker, referring to the construction schedules. “We’re building a housing registry on our website for our members who are heading to Estevan. We’ve run a bunch of advertisements seeking housing and we’ve received nothing so far, so now we’re hoping this appeal will result in at least a few responses.” Parker said if anyone has a spare room to rent or space to lease, they can contact the Building Trades office at (306) 359-0006 and give them some contact details. “We’re not approaching the subject of costs/prices. We’re not getting into pricing wars. These people are just looking for housing and if, for any reason, you get a bad tenant, you know, someone who might try to skip a rent payment, let us know and we’ll rectify it. We’ll find the person. The trade unions are good that way,” said Parker. For the most part, the tradespeople who are making their way to Estevan include millwrights, iron workers, pipefitters, carpenters, electricians and so on.
“We’re looking for up to 1,000 units of housing and the peak will be this spring, in other words, very soon and again in the fall,” Parker said. “Some of these guys and girls have RVs that they can use when it gets warmer, but they still need a space to park them.” Parker said he and his team have already had a sit-down session during which they outlined the situation and needs with most of the councils in the immediate areas around Estevan. He said they have pointed out how the workers, as well as the trades council, want to provide income to local landlords, apartment owners and local businesses, but it’s difficult to do that if they’re driving back and forth from Regina every day. “That’s a very dangerous thing, trying to drive that distance after a long day on the job, especially on those highways,” said Parker. “We want to put money into the community,” he said, noting that visiting the Building Trades website at www.saskbuildingtrades.com illustrates the situation even more graphically.