I wanna know: Rent for workers at Pelican Lodge? - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

I wanna know: Rent for workers at Pelican Lodge?

You could have the best paying job ever, but if your whole salary went for room and board, it wouldn't provide a living wage.

That's a question a number of people wonder about, as the area prepares for an influx of workers.

Ann Romero, interested citizen, poses the question, "I want to know, who is going to pay for the room and board and transportation of the workers at Pelican Lodge."

Local officials have called the $65 billion in announced projects,  a tsunami of development heading to our area. And after the housing problems brought on by Hurricane Rita,  Pelican Lodge is part of the pro-active plan to house workers from outside the area.  It can house 4000 to start.

Project manager Sammy Pate says it will provide basic needs and more.

"Sports fields it will have accommodations, it will have recreation, it'll have a medical clinic on site.  It'll have full time security.  It'll have everything that a little town would have," says Pate.

Sounds great-- but interested citizens like Romero wonder.

"I can't really understand how workers who have been brought in, if they are brought in, can afford to pay what the rent is and still have any salary to take home," said Romero.

Yet Pate says the workers won't pay for it.

"The workers won't pay anything.  In other words, this is not a hotel where you can come in and check in. This is for the companies.   So if you're a company and you contract for a block of rooms, then you'll work with me as the company to acquire those rooms," said Pate.

Lake Charles Port Director Bill Rase agrees the workers won't pay.  He says it's part of the cost of construction.

"The worker is going to have his rent, transportation, meals, so forth, paid for by the epc which is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor in each of these various plants," said Rase.

Rase explains the kind of people who will live at Pelican Lodge will likely be highly skilled workers and living there will be part of the benefits  that entice them to come here in the first place.

"If you look at the people who come in, they aren't migrant workers.  They are people who they've worked with before in other parts of the country and they come here because they have the knowledge of knowing they're going to make a good wage," Rase.

How much will they make?

"I don't really know the scale.  I'm sure it's going to be in the $25 to $35 range.  It'll be proportionate to what they do," said Rase.

Rase says the companies will first hire as many local people as they can and then do what they have to to attract outsiders to come here.  Work at Pelican Lodge is expected to get underway within the next few weeks and rase predicts there will be other similar facilities.  

Rase predicts there will be several other housing projects similar to Pelican Lodge.

Read more about Pelican Lodge and the economic development planned for our area.

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