NextBridge Infrastructure is proposing to build a temporary housing and office complex for its hydro-line construction workers at the site of Marathon’s future recreation centre.

Mayor Rick Dumas, who has been briefed on NextBridge’s proposal, said Friday the camp would be configured to not interfere with the municipality’s plans for a $34-million rec centre.

NextBridge’s proposal still requires council’s approval, which could come as early as next week.

The Stevens Avenue site is already equipped with access to electricity and water and sewer services. It used to be home to an elementary school which has since been demolished.

The site was once eyed for a workers’ bunkhouse by Stillwater Mining, when the Montana-based company was contemplating building a palladium mine near Marathon’s airport.

If town council approves NextBridge’s proposal, the municipality would receive a one-time payment of $68,000, according to a town manager’s report.

“The intent is to have office space, camp accommodations and a storage yard on the site,” a NextBridge spokesman said Friday.

Earlier this fall, NextBridge began the process of building a new $777-million high-voltage line between Thunder Bay and Wawa.

It’s expected to take about two years to build the 230-kilovolt line, with various construction stages set up along the 450-kilometre corridor overlooking Lake Superior.

The proposed Marathon construction camp would consist of modern modular trailers and be in operation for up to three years.

Construction on the town’s rec centre won’t start until 2021 at the earliest, if it gets federal and provincial funding.

In the meantime, said Dumas, the town would benefit economically by the influx of construction workers who are building the new hydro line.

Marathon is experiencing a construction boom. Work is also taking place on a new OPP police detachment and an expansion to Hydro One’s existing transmission station just off Peninsula Road.

Council is to discuss NextBridge’s proposal at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

(Originally published Oct. 12, 2019)

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