La Loche Residents Petition for a Road


Residents of Northern Saskatchewan observed that a lack of transportation routes hindered economic development in this region. As a result, they petitioned the provincial government to build a road to La Loche in 1950. The government considered this project unfeasible, citing a lack of available finances. Government officials also stated that it did not constitute a high priority project in Northern Saskatchewan. In response, volunteers from the area began to build the road by hand. Following this, the government built a winter road in 1960, and an all-season road in 1964. The residents of La Loche also asked the Department for financial assistance to proceed with plans for a Co-op store. The residents reported that the exorbitant prices charged at Hudson's Bay Company store, in addition to the already-high cost of northern living, were extortionate.

For those living in La Loche and similar northern communities (of which the majority population is Indigenous), a lack of transportation routes inhibited their ability to engage in economic development strategies and to be economically self-sufficient. Due to smaller overall population density (and a smaller voting base), Northern Aboriginal communities were frequently placed at a lower level on the government-funding priority list than other Saskatchewan communities as it related to public services.

SAB, R782, DNR (GR-24-3), v. I, f. 4, "Branch Heads Meetings, 1963-1968," "Minutes of the Branch Heads' Planning and Policy Committee," Meeting No. 53, Meadow Lake, SK, 16 September 1964; S-NR 1/5, v. 1, "General," f. 131, "Roads -- General -- 1956-61," A.G Kuziak to A.R Guy, 16 November 1961; R.N Gooding, "Construction Division Road Program for 1959-60," 22 May 1959