Fraser Lake, British Columbia
The Autumn Services “YOU” Project
Project Lead: Lisa Gandier, Autumn Services Society
Fraser Lake is a community which sits geographically in the centre of BC on the lands of the Nadleh Whut’en and the Stellat’en First Nation. The village population is approximately 1,000, with a draw of 2,000 from the surrounding area. It is a two-hour drive from Prince George.
The Endako Molybdenum Mine opened in 1965, but in 2014 following a 260-million-dollar expansion, it stopped production citing catastrophic losses in the markets. Within months 450 employees were laid off. The small community lost many of its retail businesses as a result. In 2019, a pipeline project built a 100-600-person camp on the east side of the Village of Fraser Lake. The camp was closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in December 2020. They hoped to have workers back at camp in early 2021.
Autumn Services Society operates a community drop-in centre and has experienced a significant increase in the number of people coming to the centre for assistance with technology use, job searches, resume and cover letter preparation, mobile device use, document preparation and filing, online form submissions, permit applications, licensing processes and job-seeking preparation.
The Autumn Services YOU Project provided the opportunity for community members to learn digital literacy skills, gain self-confidence and become better suited candidates for jobs that become available in the local area. This 15-day project was suited for people in all phases of their working lives who are goal oriented and want to gain self-confidence. The You Project was also for people who want to upgrade their skills in preparation for employment, further their education, or pursue apprenticeship or certificate programs.
By the summer of 2022, the 700-person-capacity Little Rock Lake Camp was bustling with workers. Construction in the area on Section 5 of the Coastal GasLink project is an Indigenous partnership between Nadleh Whut’en and Macro Pipelines who will contribute to local economic development, employment and skills training and contract opportunities. This partnership created much needed economic opportunities within the First Nation communities, the Village of Fraser Lake and the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako.