Work is about to begin in Northeastern B.C. on a massive work camp to house thousands of workers coming to build the Site C hydroelectric dam.

When it is completed, the camp on the northern bank of the Peace River will be a self-contained community, with its own sewage and water systems and facilities that rival nearby Fort St. John.

It is expected to house 1,800 workers when it opens early next year, with the ability to expand to eventually house 2,200 at the height of construction on the $9 billion dam. 

At its peak, the camp is expected to bump up the population of the Fort St. John area by more than 10 per cent.

It will be so large it will have its own theatre, outdoor fields, indoor running track, a library and a spiritual centre.

BC Hydro spokesman David Conway said the aim is to attract and keep workers with quality amenities, including guest rooms featuring double beds, en suite bathrooms and wifi.

"The quality of worker accommodation is a key component of the project's labour approach to attract and retain workers in what is expected to be a period of high demand for skilled workers," he said.

ATCO subsidiary Two Rivers Lodging Group won the contract to build the work camp. But before construction of the camp begins, the contractor has to build its own smaller camp to house the workers who will build the larger camp.

When it is completed the Site C Dam will flood a valley 83 kilometres long, between Hudson's Hope and Fort St. John.

It has been opposed by some environmentalists, farmers and First Nations.
 

With files from Betsy Trumpener