Wollaston Residents Frustrated Over Barge Service

Thursday, July 03, 2003 at 14:22




Some recent downtime of the barge service to Wollaston Lake has renewed calls for all-weather road access to the community.


Wollaston Lake relies on the barge service to receive goods and supplies during the summer months, and to transport passengers and vehicles in and out of the community.


The barge broke down last week and was out of commission for 3 days. Hatchet Lake councillor Ed Benoanie says frustration in the community is growing, and even when the barge is running, it’s proving to be inadequate.


Benoanie says a study has shown a proposed all-weather road network in the Far North is economically feasible and says it’s high time for government action. The federal government has committed to pay one-third of the cost of the roads — the province won’t commit anything until it sees at least a 70 per cent commitment from Ottawa. Benoanie calls that a stalling tactic.


Benoanie recently wrote to both the premier and the prime minister directly on this issue, and hopes dealing directly with Lorne Calvert and Jean Chretien creates some movement on the project proposal.


It’s estimated an all-weather road network in the Athabasca region would have a total price tag of between 30 and 40 million dollars.