SaskPower is among the employers that has encountered challenges posed by Estevan's housing shortage, and the Crown corporation is seeking solutions.
Judy May, who is the vice-president of supply chain management, said SaskPower is seeking immediate housing for employees that SaskPower is trying to hire for the vacancies that they have at the Boundary Dam Power Station and the Shand Power Station.
A basement suite, for example, could be an ideal short-term solution, May said, for a prospective employee and their family.
SaskPower also issued a request for proposals for people who might be able to provide longer-term transitional housing, for as much as a year or two, before an employee shifts to a more permanent residence.
“It would really be looking more for condos, multi-family complexes, apartments and things of that nature,” said May.
The request for proposals closed on March 18.
The housing obstacles facing SaskPower are no different than those facing any other company, May said. It has been a hurdle that has faced the Crown corporation for some time. They've been recruiting new employees from outside the community to take over for those who have retired, or for those who have left SaskPower for other opportunities.
“What we are finding is we are have a growing number of individuals who are interested in working for us, but ultimately do not accept the full-time position because they can't find housing,” said May. “Quite frankly, I think it's an issue for everyone in this area, as housing has been a bit constrained.”
SaskPower does not want to be a landlord, she said, as that doesn't fall within the company's mandate.
May said the call for available housing, and the request for proposals, likely represent SaskPower's biggest push thus far to resolve the housing issue.
The call for housing isn't related to the integrated carbon capture and storage project that is currently underway at the Boundary Dam Power Station, May said. Hundreds of out-of-town contractors have flocked to Boundary Dam to work on the project, but they have been able to find lodgings at work camps at the Boundary Dam site, or at hotels in the Estevan area.
And while they have made arrangements to make use of the work camp suites for employees moving to Estevan to work at the power plants, the work camps aren't conducive to families, and so the challenge remains to find housing for workers with families.