Stories & Features

Job fair helps Moberly Lake woman land job with Site C

Image of Wadeen Badine
Wadeen Badine, a member of the Saulteau First Nations at Moberly Lake, B.C., is construction administrator for Peace River Hydro Partners at the Site C Clean Energy Project.

'Being part of one of Canada's biggest infrastructure projects is captivating'

Wadeen Badine wasn't just one of the 5,000-plus job seekers who turned out for BC Hydro's Site C job fairs in eight northern B.C. communities last spring. It turns out she had the qualifications to land the job she was looking for.

A member of the Saulteau First Nations, Badine now works as a construction administrator with Peace River Hydro Partners, which holds the main civil works contract for the Site C Clean Energy Project. She lives at the Site C worker camp Sundays through Thursdays, then heads to her lakeside home on Moberly Lake.

"Being a part of one of Canada's biggest infrastructure projects is captivating," says Badine. "I've always been interested in project management and have worked as an executive assistant to project managers in my previous work experience. It's always changing, and with that comes challenges and the opportunity to learn."

After graduating from Chetwynd Senior Secondary in 2000, Badine held administrator jobs with the likes of Ledcor and Walter Energy. But with safety such a priority at BC Hydro, perhaps her best move was enrollment in construction officer safety training at BCIT. With that combination of experience, she now works closely with superintendents, project engineers and construction managers on the south bank of the Site C project.

"I really enjoy my job, and the team I work with is great," she says. "They're always making me laugh."

The Site C job looks to be an important stepping stone for Badine. Inspired by the Aboriginal Health and Community Administration Program she took at UBC, her goal is to continue her education in business management and occupational health and safety.

While she's spending most of her time at Site C these days, her home and family at Moberly Lake – about a 130 km drive southwest of Site C – are never far from her mind.

"When I was growing up in Moberly Lake, my family would spend the entire day at the beach during the summer," she recalls. "We would go swimming and have hot dog roasts."

With temperatures at Moberly Lake dipping to nearly -30°C over the past week, all that fair weather play is on hold for now. Her winter visits home are all about stuff like tobogganing and ice fishing in a lake that supports about 15 species of fish, including whitefish, pike and turbot. Fishing for lake trout, which once flourished with fish up to nearly 60 pounds, has been banned since 2002 as part of the Ministry of Environment's lake trout recovery program.

More local flavour: Fort St. John's Dent runs a rock truck at Site C

There are more than 1,000 British Columbians at work on the Site C Clean Energy Project, and that's great news for Reg Dent, a heavy equipment operator from Fort St. John who had spent years working far away from home before getting a job at Site C.

"I enjoy working on this project because it's local," says Dent, who's running a rock truck at Site C for Peace River Hydro Partners. "When it's complete one day, I will be able to say to my kids: 'I helped build this.'"

Like Dent, fellow Site C worker Amber Harding and her husband say they love Fort St. John in large part for the outdoor recreation. And like Dent, Site C offered her the chance to work much closer to the city she loves.

"I made the decision to come back to my hometown to work on this exciting infrastructure project as it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I couldn't pass up," says Harding, who had spent a decade working elsewhere in B.C. before being hired as Peace River Hydro Partners' communications manager.

A third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River, Site C will provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity and about 5,100 gigawatt hours of energy each year to the province's integrated electricity system. But it's such a big project, it won't be completed until 2024.

Site C main civil works continue this winter

The focus through the fall and winter at the Site C dam site is on earthworks required for dam construction. This includes excavation on the north and south banks of the Peace River, along with construction of the south bank drainage tunnel and construction of a south bank cofferdam – one of two temporary cofferdams being built across the river's main channel to allow for diversion of the river during construction of the earthfill dam.

Work areas are expected to include the dam site, Highway 29, the 85th Avenue Industrial Lands, Hudson's Hope, the transmission line corridor, Wuthrich Quarry, Portage Mountain Quarry and Pine View Quarry.

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