The Wapasu Lodge, is located 2 hours north of Fort McMurray, a short drive down a private road to Kearl Lake, Imperial Oil’s massive new oilsands mining operation.
The Lodge is owned by PTI Group Inc. PTI is headquartered out of a former Costco warehouse on the south side of Edmonton. PTI Group Inc. a subsidiary of Houston-based Oil States Inc. PTI is Canada’s largest owner-operator hotel chain - 20 different lodges with 19,270 rooms, all built close to major but remote industrial worksites.
In 2004, PTI Group made a dramatic strategic decision. It had been quite successful at sending trailers to remote worksites for a few months at a time, mobile dormitories with group washrooms and a kitchen. But it had to differentiate itself, says CEO and President Ron Green. “We decided to design, build, own and operate our own lodges. They would be run as three-star hotels, not work-camps.”
Wapasu is a dry camp with a Tim Horton’s on site.
Attracting hotel staff is not an issue, not when salaries are three times higher than in urban Canada. Room and board is included. Staff work three weeks, then have a week off, plus holidays and a $400 a month travel allowance. Housekeepers earn in the six figures. PTI takes good care of its staff. If the lifestyle suits them, employees don’t leave. PTI has 3,000 staff in Alberta.
Other oil sands accommodation properties include: Devon (operator), 2,400 rooms, Henday, 2,000; Athabasca, 2,000; Beaver River, 1,000; Conklin, 875; Statoil (operator), 650; Mariana, 620; Anzac, 600; Pebble Beach, 550; Lakeside, 530; Conoco (operator), 475; MacKay River (services), 275.
Who knew that the world’s 5th largest hotel was located north of Ft.McMurray ? The immensity of the Kearl operation is astounding. The workers need accommodation and PTI meets the need.