VANCOUVER – (Reuters) – Hundreds of construction workers in booming northern British Columbia will take up residence this week in unique digs on board a cruise ferry revamped into a floating luxury hotel.
The aging ship will help relieve a housing shortage in one busy Canadian port town already bursting ahead of a promised energy boom that could last more than a decade.
The Silja Festival – a Baltic ferry made over as the Delta Spirit Lodge – will spend at least a year docked outside Kitimat, British Columbia, where it will provide housing for about 600 workers in town for Rio Tinto Alcan’s $3.3 billion smelter-upgrade project, which is expected to wrap up in 2015.
After that, the ship’s owners hope more contracts will float their way as major energy companies like Chevron Corp, Petronas and Royal Dutch Shell push ahead with proposed liquefied natural gas export (LNG) projects along Canada’s Pacific coast.
“This kind of investment would never occur without the kind of mega-opportunities that are growing in the Pacific Northwest,” said Andrew Purdy, vice president of Bridgemans Services Ltd, the privately held company behind the hotel.