THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Deal reached on broken rail line to Churchill in Manitoba

The community on Hudson Bay has been isolated since spring flooding in 2017

A deal has been reached to sell and repair a broken rail line that is the only land link for the northern Manitoba town of Churchill.

The community on Hudson Bay has been isolated since spring flooding in 2017 damaged the line and forced fuel and food to be flown in at skyrocketing costs.

The town said the deal includes the sale of the Hudson Bay Railway, the Port of Churchill and the Churchill Marine Tank Farm.

“This is great news,” Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said in an interview. “This is historic.”

A news release from the federal government late Friday said the assets have been purchased by the Arctic Gateway Group, a private-public partnership of Missinippi Rail Limited Partnership, Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings and AGT Limited Partnership.

RELATED: Freeland to break from NAFTA talks to make announcement at embassy

It said they are fully committed to the restoration of the Hudson Bay rail line.

“I want Canadians living in northern Manitoba and Nunavut to know that the government of Canada understands the importance of the line to their daily lives,” said Jim Carr, the minister of international trade diversification.

Dominic LeBlanc, the minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs and trade, added that it’s an important rail line for the people of Churchill and the surrounding communities who depend on it for their food supply and export of their grain.

It’s not clear how quickly repairs to the line can be done, but officials said in the news release that construction crews are mobilizing.

“Phase one of the project will be to repair the rail line, undertake safety and rehabilitation upgrades to the port and the railway assets,” said Paul Rivett, director of Arctic Gateway Group. “We will commence the repairs and do all we can to restore service expeditiously and safely.

“We are racing against time.”

Hudson Bay Railway has said the line has been losing money for years and the necessary repairs would cost tens of millions of dollars.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the deal is positive for all Manitobans, particularly those who live in Churchill and northern Manitoba.

RELATED: Four charged in shooting of Manitoba RCMP officer

“We are hopeful the repair of the rail line can occur as soon as possible so that service can be resumed before freeze-up,” he said in a statement.

Pallister said, however, that they have made the financial commitments and logistical arrangements to ensure propane resupply for the winter.

Spence said he’s hoping the work can start next week and be completed this fall.

“We’ll let the contractors get it done and we’ll monitor it, naturally,” said the mayor. “We’re hoping this can get done in record time.”

Spence added that the deal is the light at the end of the tunnel.

“This community has been so solid, so strong and it’s been challenging, it’s been so difficult,” he said. “This afternoon, this evening, some of the folks I’ve just talked to are so happy, so pleased, and very excited about a bright future.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP inspecting trucks along Trans Canada

They are emphasising that all commercial trucks on Highway 1 must carry chains during winter

Beyond the Blues event coming to Revelstoke

Annual mental health awareness event will have a new cannabis use screening tool

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

CONTEST: New year, new you

KimXO has partnered with Black Press Media and Third Space for a brand new contest

Revelstoke Hospice Society recognizes National Bereavement Day today

Perhaps you were unaware of the national day we have to dedicate… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read