With these coal deposits in mind, a purchasing agreement was signed in 1981 by two Canadian mining companies, a consortium of Japanese steel mills, and the governments of British Columbia and Canada. As part of the deal, the provincial government committed, under the North East Coal Development plan, to build a new town near the deposits, two highways off Highway 97, a power line from the W. A. C. Bennett Dam at Hudson's Hope, and a branch rail line through the Rocky Mountains. An alternative of using work camps staffed by people from Dawson Creek and Chetwynd was also considered. Massive initial investments were required as planning for the new town began in 1976 with the objective of having a fully functioning town ready before residents arrived. Coordinated through the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs the town, regional infrastructure, and mining plants were all built simultaneously. When the municipality was incorporated in April 1981 the area was completely forested. During that year building sites and roadways were cleared and in the winter the water and sewerage system was built. In 1982, houses and other buildings were constructed. Full production at the mines was reached the following year.