Scoping out an economic windfall on the Alberta prairies

As pipeliners with Line 3 Replacement Program join the hunting crowd in Provost, local businesses harvest the benefits


For nearly 25 years, Pak Wong’s passion for hunting has been locked and loaded.

“In 1993, I was convinced to go hunting by a local farmer. I didn’t want to get up early in the morning, so he suggested an afternoon hunt,” chuckles Wong, owner of Greenhead Motel and Restaurant in Provost, Alberta. “We had a fantastic hunt that day, and from there on I was hooked—and it has been one of my biggest passions in life.”

Provost is a superior hunting destination in east-central Alberta. Hunters from all over North American converge on the Greenhead Motel for food, lodging, and great conversation as they target big game (whitetail and mule deer, moose, elk) and waterfowl (ducks, geese).

“Hunters are a special breed of people. When you run into somebody that hunts, the conversation is just endless . . . and you almost become friends immediately,” says Wong.

For the next several months, another group—pipeliners working on Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program—will be rubbing shoulders with the hunting crowd, as construction on this massive energy infrastructure project continues in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, including the Provost region.

With a targeted completion date of 2019, the Line 3 Replacement Program will fully replace 1,660 kilometres (1,031 miles) of Line 3—one of the primary conduits in Enbridge’s Mainline crude oil network—between Hardisty, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin.

 

In Canada, the construction phase of this $5.3-billion project means jobs, tax revenue and economic spinoffs. Once in service the new Line 3 will also provide much-needed incremental crude oil capacity to support Canadian crude oil production, and U.S. and Canadian refinery demand.

“We are a resource-rich country. In order for us to be able to market our product, to the world and to various parts of North America . . . it is so important for us to be able to see projects like this happening across the country,” says Wong.

With several hundred pipeline construction workers putting down roots for months at a time, Wong stands to benefit from the L3RP—as do entrepreneurs in Canadian towns all along the Line 3 right-of-way.

Wong bought the Greenhead Motel in 1990, and the family has made serious investments in the business ever since. Wong’s wife Allyson, an accomplished chef, operates the kitchen. His son looks after logistics. The restaurant and lounge have been updated, and the motel was completely renovated two years ago.

“I think this is probably one of the best things that could have happened to Provost at this juncture of the economy,” says Wong. “We are at the front line. We will see the room traffic, the food and beverage traffic . . . and also the town will in general be more robust, with more people coming through this area.

“It will be good for everybody, like the gas station, restaurant, your downtown businesses. Traffic and people—that’s what we need in a community like this.”

(TOP PHOTO: Pak Wong, his wife Allyson and their children run the Greenhead Motel in Provost, Alberta.)