First Voyage on the Wollaston Road

Posted on September 22, 2021 in News. Tags: Explorer Newsletter Fall 2021 |

Pictured (L to R): Lyle Bouvier, George St. Pierre. Photo taken by Stobbe Photography.

By Allison Strong

In March, Points Athabasca’s CEO John Scarfe, Vice President of Corporate Services Lyle Bouvier, and photographer David Stobbe, went on a road trip of the Athabasca Region. This included a tour of the Wollaston Lake road project,
which, once completed, will connect the Northern Settlement of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake First Nation to
highway 905 around kilometre 149 and add two more much-needed months of overland travelling.

The Wollaston Lake road project resumed after a twelve-year hiatus, supported by $6.75 million in federal and provincial construction funding. The project, awarded to Points Athabasca, employed 34 workers, with 29 from the Athabasca region. More Athabasca residents are expected to be employed in future phases of the project. “We’re starting bridge construction and continuing to level some hills and filling muskeg crossings,” says John Scarfe. “We’re hoping to have a snow road in 2022/2023.”

The road is an essential link between the Hatchet Lake and Wollaston communities to other communities in the
province. The new road will be 104 kilometres long and will allow the roughly 1500 people in Wollaston Lake and
Hatchet Lake to access improved services. “Right now, it is hard to get in and out of the community,” says Bart Tsannie, Chief of Hatchet Lake First Nation. “Especially when you are trying to get groceries on the shelves, and you must pay four to five people to transport them. With this road, there will be a lot of savings in transportation, and it will allow more economic opportunities for the community. In addition, there is a need for housing, so this road will allow better
transportation for residents who can supply their lumber.”

The new road will connect the two remote Saskatchewan communities to the Northwestern Athabasca highway, adding two more months of overland travelling in and out of the community. Many people together put in a lot of work to get things to this point. “Chief Bart Tsannie and Vice Chief Joe Tsannie were fundamental in raising funds and getting things put in place,” says Scarfe. “Associated Engineering helped with the proposal preparation. We’re incredibly thankful to our crew for the hard work on their part.”

Photographing the entire road trip, David Stobbe thoroughly enjoyed taking part. “Every time I get the chance to go up north to photograph, it’s fantastic,” he says. “It’s such a wonderful pace of life.”