Good times for the hotel biz

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake hotels are bursting at the seams lately, mostly due to a major powerline construction project nearby.
“We’re packed,” says Slave Lake Inn & Conference Centre manager Colleen Chartrand. “We’re turning people away.”
“There aren’t any rooms today,” says front desk manager Ganga Upreti of the Holiday Inn Express. “It’s the powerline. It will be like this for eight or nine months.”
“It’s wonderful,” says Chartrand. “It’s been like this off and on since November.”
The big reason is the high-voltage powerline being built from Wabamun to Fort McMurray that runs not far east of Slave Lake. Yes, there’s a work camp out at the former Weldwood/Weyerhaue- ser/Tolko mill yard, but it’s apparently not big enough.
“They’ve got 50 rooms here,” says Upreti.
“At the moment we are very busy,” says a spokesperson at the Lakeview Inns & Suites.
Front desk agent at the Slave Lake Super 8 Nicole Smith says they haven’t been turning people away, but it has been very busy.
“It started picking up in December,” she says, “and has stayed all the way through.”
An ATCO spokesperson told The Leader last week there are 800 people working on the powerline project at the moment, “which would explain the busy-ness in town.” The first tower was erected in November, she said, and lines are being strung.
A construction schedule can be found online at albertapowerline. com.

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