With two major projects set to occur in the region in a very short time, a grassroots initiative has started to welcome hundreds of workers to the region.
The Halkirk 2 Wind project and the Central East Transfer Out (CETO) line are both expected to begin construction in Paintearth County in March.
With few hotels in the region to accommodate the many workers needed for the project, Doreen Blumhagen has started a group on Facebook named Halkirk 2 & CETO Hosts & Workers.
The idea behind the group is to connect with people in the community who have space, be it a room for rent, Air BnB, space to park an RV or even set up a campsite on private land, to connect with the workers who will be coming into the region.
“I’m trying to facilitate those connections,” said Blumhagen.
According to Blumhagen, there will be around 350 workers needed for the windmill project and currently, there are no estimates on the CETO project.
Blumhagen’s reason for establishing the group and making these connections is a focus on the community.
“Even if we keep half of them (in the area), they spend their money here,” said Blumhagen.
Blumhagen elaborated that by keeping the workers in the region, they are spending money in area stores and restaurants, which is a benefit to everybody.
The online group is private, but Blumhagen is allowing people to join as long as they remain civil.
Blumhagen will be presenting and promoting the group to both Flagstaff and Paintearth counties and several communities in the region.
Anyone with space for the workers is asked to download and fill out a form from the group which will then be used to connect them with the workers needing it.
The forms will either be posted on the page or sent directly to the construction contractors, says Blumhagen.