New seasonal road to join Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation underway
- EFN Staff | April 27, 2020
Northern Saskatchewan communities will be getting a seasonal road. On April 22, 2020, Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation Chief Bart Tsannie, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, and Minister Greg Ottenbreit made the announcement that construction of a $6.750-million seasonal road, joining Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation to Highway 905, was currently underway.
“This is tremendous news for our community and we greatly welcome to see both levels of government invest the dollars into this important infrastructure project,” said Chief Tsannie in a media release. “Without a seasonal road, our community has always been heavily reliant on-air transportation for freight and passengers where groceries and supplies can only in to the retailers and many of our people need to travel down south for health support. The economic benefits it will bring to our community will also be a welcomed bonus.”
The provincial and federal governments have agreed to contribute funding to the project. ISC will be contributing $6.5 million over a two-year period, and the province will provide $250,000 and will also be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the road, which is estimated to cost $250,000 per year.
“This important work will get vehicles off the open ice of Wollaston Lake while providing one to two more months of overland access each year,” said Minister of Highways and Infrastructure Ottenbreit. “We are delighted to partner with the Government of Canada on this important project.”
The work includes the design and construction of 102 km of (winter) seasonal road, leading to the eventual construction of an all-weather road. The work includes clearing and rock and tree removal to develop the roadway. Once the project is completed, it will allow for the traffic of passenger vehicles and heavy trucks with a 70-km speed limit.
“The development of the seasonal road for the communities of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation is a first step towards the construction of an all-season road. This road will eliminate safety issues for residents that have relied for far too long on the ice road to access the southern portion of Saskatchewan for goods and services,” stated Minister of ISC Miller. “I want to commend the leadership of Hatchet Lake and the Prince Albert Grand Council who have continued to press for this important initiative. Not only will this bring economic development opportunities to the region, but it will also allow the communities to provide greater services and support for their citizens.”
According to the media release, the only way to Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation is provided by an ice road in the winter and by the Wollaston Barge Ferry during the summer.
The combined population of Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation is approx.1,800.