An Alberta cement company desperate to draw workers to Calgary wants to set up a temporary work camp.

Workers from Eastern Canada don't want to come to Calgary once they learn about how muchit costs to live in the city, said Al Schuster, a vice-president at Lehigh Inland Cement, a western Canadian supplier.

Despite negative perceptions about work camps, he said his company believes setting one up in or near Calgary will help solve its labour problems.

Last summer, the company couldn't hire enough mechanics, so some trucks sat idle.

"I would think you'll always get pushback on a camp in an area because everyone perceives it to be a bunch of transient people," he said.

Schuster said his company will offer a modern work camp that fits in with its neighbours and improves the reputation of these kinds of camps.

Company looks to Rocky View

Calgary has seen vacancy rates fall to 0.5 per cent and the average price of a home rise to $391,000 at the end of February compared with $304,000 a year earlier.

Lehigh Inland applied to set up a camp on its gravel pit land in the southeast, but the City of Calgaryrejected the application. Schuster said Lehigh now islooking to the neighbouring municipality of Rocky View so it will be ready for the summer demand.

"There is a location down south of where we are that really has already a structured facility and had been permitted for trailers, I believe."

Grant Neufeld, spokesman for the Calgary Housing Action Initiative, said the fact employers are eventalking about work camps in Calgary shows they are desperate.

"I'd say it's better than having people out on the street, but not that much better. It's not a great condition for people to be living under."