TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER RV1
Conditions today were most unpleasant. Lots of dark cloud built up in the afternoon, there was thunder, rain at night, and a strong smell of smoke around.
R left in the morning, to see the FMG head man in Hedland, then drive on to Broome.
Stage 1 was signed off on today. It took just eight weeks to do all that – amazing. So Pod 1 could be occupied, and the kitchen/mess serve meals, and the admin office function. This meant that there was accommodation for more than 100 people to actually work on the railway construction nearby.
The whole idea behind the construction camps was that the railway builders would not have to go too far to reach their work site – only about 50kms maximum, each way. At the Hedland end, such workers were accommodated in a town camp, like those building the port facility for FMG. At the mine end, there would be a camp for the mine that would be a temporary base for rail workers. And then, in between at about 50kms intervals, were RV1 and RV2. When the railway was built, the plan was for our two camps to be demolished again and removed, except perhaps for part of one that would be a base for rail upkeep staff, like Redmont Camp was for the BHP crews. R had said he thought this would be part of RV2, not here. So, at this stage, all the buildings we were putting in still belonged to our company – in effect, they were on lease to FMG. That was going to be a lot of buildings for our company to eventually re-use, or sell, I guessed. But that was a few years away yet.
Some of the men were “landscaping – tidying up the site, spreading gravel at the sides of the paths so there was not an abrupt drop.
The most worrying emerging issue was that the ice machines were not functioning as they should – either not working at all, or producing a minimal output. I was told to phone around – distributors, manufacturers, whoever, and see what could be done. I spent hours on the phone to places as far afield as Perth and North Queensland. I stressed that the water coming into the machines was hot – it took some doing to convince the men I spoke to that this was not intentional, and that it was the cold water supply that was hot! I found it hard to believe this was the first time there had been such a problem. Several people said they would think about it and get back to me.
Spotless reported some broken toilets in Pod 2, faults with smoke alarms, locks and keys. I dreaded the ongoing litany of faults. But they were only doing their job. They gave a big list of faults to P, who was now in charge here. I phoned and booked a glazier to come and replace a window in a SPQ unit in Pod 3, that had been broken in transit here.
One of the odd little buildings that had been puzzling me when they came in turned out to be a small set of toilets for outside the kitchen. As the set up was happening today, it was found that the two toilets in the female part were cracked – probably happened in transport. So now John would be buying toilet bowls!
The genset refuel took 3 hours.
John did two Hedland trips – a load to the tip and later met the late afternoon plane, to pick up the guy from the sewerage installation company, come to fix the problems with that. We were continuing to move plant and gear to RV2. There was a real sense of things coming to an end, here. At RV2, they had started doing verandas on the SPQ dongas.
Approval was FINALLY granted for us to move into RV1 accommodation, by the FMG person at Hedland. However, short term subbies and those transiting overnight to/from RV2 had to keep using the Fly Camp. That would make our workers here happy, after putting up with less than optimal conditions at the Fly Camp.
A fuel tanker arrived about 6pm to fill the large genset tank. It should then go on to automatic operation and fuelling, and be the responsibility of the Spotless managers. We would be very glad about that!
When we finished work for the day, finished packing up our gear at Fly Camp and towed the van up the road to RV1. A milestone event for us! We had decided we would park the van up at the end of Pod 2, where we could pull it in against the verandah. We had been allocated two adjacent rooms there by Spotless, but could continue to sleep in the van, if we wished. But we now had a bathroom each – I was in heaven! We plugged our power lead into an outlet in one of the rooms.
So we could have the van there, to keep it secure. But it was a long walk to the mess, and to my office – right down at the other end of the site.
Would like to report that I had a long, luxurious shower before bed – but in reality it was a fast one. The water coming overland from the bore in an uncovered pipe got very heated along the way, and had not had long enough in the holding tank to cool down much. No need for the hot water tap – the cold tap provided water too hot for comfort!