On August 28 and 29, the Athabasca Basin Area Transportation Planning Committee (ATPC) hosted a tour of the Athabasca communities. Chairpersons and other guests were invited to Black Lake, Stony Rapids, Fond du Lac, and Wollaston Lake/Hatchet Lake to meet with leadership and community members and hear feedback on transportation in those communities.
The purpose of the tour was to highlight the challenges that the Athabasca residents face as far as transportation infrastructure. “I’d like to thank the Athabasca communities for being gracious hosts,” says Glen Strong, Chairman of the Athabasca Basin ATPC. “The Athabasca communities have a lot of transportation needs and leadership and community members were very respectful as they expressed their concerns.”
The 11 Saskatchewan ATPCs are the grassroots organizations that give feedback to the Ministry of Highways regarding transportation and infrastructure needs in their area. There are 11 of them throughout the province. The group takes turns hosting workshops and meetings in the various areas they represent, with the last Athabasca Basin community tour taking place in 2018. The ATPCs began in 1998 and Strong has chaired the Athabasca Basin ATPC since its inception. Anne Robillard is the other Athabasca Basin ATPC committee member.
The ATPC has observed a number of projects occurring in the Athabasca region, such as continued funding on the Athabasca seasonal road, the Stony Rapids Airport Expansion, alternate access to Stony Rapids (used to go close to the river), the Fond du Lac airport expansion, and the Wollaston Lake road. “The Athabasca communities have all had local leadership and others asking for these projects, and those people have been instrumental in getting projects going in the region,” says Strong.
On the 2023 trip, ATPCs heard about community concerns and suggestions for improving access to Fond du Lac, some improved signage in Stony Rapids, and dust control. They continue to look for improvements on the road between Stony Rapids and Black Lake as well as on the 905.
“I’d like to acknowledge Assistant Deputy Minister of Highways Ryan Cossitt, Executive Director Justin Hirle, and Assistant Deputy Minister of Design and Construction Wayne Gienow for their participation in this tour,” says Strong. “A lot of the questions were directed towards them, and it’s not always easy to address comments on the spot like that. We greatly appreciated their frank and honest responses, and we look forward to working with them moving forward on future projects and improvements.”
Athabasca Basin Development provides administrative support for and contributed $14,000 towards this tour.
The ATPC has room for more members. If you’re from the Athabasca Basin area and interested in participating, please contact: