Editorial: Dunn County has a chance at a man campWell, the process begins again. Target Logistics announced Thursday that it will be pursuing a 595-bed man camp, mainly to house oilfield workers, just north of the Stark County line in Dunn County.
Well, the process begins again. Target Logistics announced Thursday that it will be pursuing a 595-bed man camp, mainly to house oilfield workers, just north of the Stark County line in Dunn County.
This may not have been necessary if Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission members would have recommended that the City Commission approve a permit allowing this housing on the edge of Dickinson earlier in September.
There might be a few people in Dickinson who are wishing this wasn’t the way it would have went, but that’s the past. However, it’s not in the so-distant past that you shouldn’t be reminded: The loss of a 600-person man camp is millions of dollars in the past for the Dickinson area. This includes hundreds of dollars daily from nearly 600 men who would make many purchases of food, gas and any other personal needs, locally. The city also takes a hit on taxes.
Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission members deserve credit for listening to those who came to a public hearing and voiced their dissatisfaction in the original plan for a location. However, residents need to keep in mind that many people contributing heavily to the number one economy in the nation (North Dakota) need somewhere to go after working long shifts on rigs and doing all that’s necessary to keep the oil flowing.
One commission member was right on when he said, no matter where a man camp is proposed, someone is going to be unhappy.
Dickinson has also turned away people that could become friends and neighbors and take part in this community.
Target Logistics has been very forthcoming with its proposal. They told The Press on Thursday that they intend to keep looking in the Dickinson area for suitable parcels to place man camps. However, it appears they are quite interested in the Dunn County site.
If this oil boom keeps going at the pace it’s at, there may be a need for hundreds, or even thousands, of living quarters to add to what has already amounted to a shortage of accommodations.
It’s important for Target Logistics, and all companies interested in man camps, to come up with suitable parcels to make this happen. As days grow shorter and stocking hats and gloves get pulled from the closet, those who came to North Dakota from across the country are getting colder just like the rest of us. Fortunately for many of us, we have a place to call home. They don’t.
We can’t complain about highway traffic if we force people to work further away from their rigs. And along with complaints about roads are complaints about dust. We may also be giving this town a bad rap with newcomers.
If it comes to it, other companies interested in man camps may not even attempt to build here. Why go through the process when there is a good chance “not in my backyard” will win anyway?
The Dunn County deal isn’t done. A purchase agreement has been made, but final plans must be approved by the Dunn County Planning and Zoning Commission before the company can start building.
Will Dunn County make the same mistake?
Publisher Harvey Brock and Managing Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Dickinson Press Editorial Board.