“ It was at the end of February that work started and since then, I assure you we have worked hard. Everybody is thrilled with the place.” – Father Lacombe o.m.i., St. Albert, 13 April 1861
Relying on help from the Métis in the area and those that followed from Lac Ste. Anne, Lacombe was able to organize a number of major projects during the early days of the St. Albert Mission. Two of his most well known achievements were the division of the land into river lots and the building of a bridge across the muddy Sturgeon River. While Lacombe got the credit, Bishop Taché very much had a hand in these endeavors.
In a letter to Taché in April 1861 Lacombe writes; “ In a few days we will draw the lines according to the plan you gave me, without forgetting to take a 10 acres width for the mission’s land.” Before he returned to St. Boniface, Taché must have provided instructions as to how the land should be divided. He had chosen a narrow river lot system to ensure that each property had access to the water.
In the same letter Lacombe also credits Taché with planning the construction of the bridge. “Following your recommendation, we are cutting wood for a bridge. …That bridge will be 200 feet long and 15 feet wide. We will make 5 piers with red spruce; it is on this that we will put the bridge.” A year later, in 1862, Lacombe rallied the residents to build the first permanent bridge west of St. Boniface (Winnipeg).