Deputies visit Alberta, Canada to check out worker housing - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Deputies visit Alberta, Canada to check out worker housing

If you are wondering what Pelican Lodge worker housing complex will mean for our area -- you're not the only one.

Three supervisors from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Officer went on a fact-finding mission to visit similar facilities in Alberta, Canada.

Off La. 397, east of Lake Charles, there's a huge expanse of undeveloped land owned by the Port of Lake Charles. And it's there that Greenfield Logistical Solutions' Pelican Lodge will be located.

At the height of the upcoming construction boom, the housing development will provide a home for as many as 4,000 workers. That's bigger than some towns in Southwest Louisiana, so it's easy to see why law enforcement is interested.

Commander Matt Vezinot, who heads the Special Services Division at the sheriff's department, made the trip.

"Some people refer to them as man camps. Some refer to them as migrant worker housing and that caused us a lot of concern because of the numbers of people that they're going to bring in here, basically to the point where we're going to have the population of some of our smaller municipalities in one area," Vezinot said.

Vezinot said they had a number of questions to resolve.

"How's it going to affect what we have going on. Will it make crime increase We know there will be traffic increase, just all these things," he said.

One of the reasons the group choose Canada is there is no such facility in the United States.

"They're looking at the possibility of bringing in foreigners. Currently, there is no one in the United States housing foreigners in work camp and Port McMurry Canada had some work camps that were housing foreigners," said Lt. Robbie Broussard.

All three men said they were impressed and would not hesitate to live in the facilities.

"If I didn't have a family concern or and I was looking for employment, I would have absolutely no problem," said Commander Will Scheufens. "They provide a roof over your head, a comfortable bed, the food was great. And they keep the place clean."

"It's a nice facility. They set up everything they need," Vezinot said. "They have entertainment, they have fitness centers, they have all the meals they need."

Sheriff Tony Mancuso said his office is trying to do its part to be prepared for what lies ahead.

"I think we're just trying to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that we have not overlooked any aspect of what this growth is going to bring, whether it be criminal activity, whether it be traffic issues, and some are going to be out of our control, we have no control over but we want to be prepared," Mancuso said.

The deputies spent a week there and left with positive ideas about what is to come.

"I think we got all of our questions answered," Broussard said. "Everything that we were apprehensive about, we got our questions answered and I feel a lot better about the housing village now than I did when we first heard about it."

The deputies plan to give a full report to the Go Group, sometime in the near future.

That's the group with a cross section of public officials and others that was set up to help keep growing pains under control.

For more on Greenfield Logistical Solutions plans click here.

Copyright 2013 KPLC All rights reserved

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