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

Mold shuts down construction at QC supportive housing project

Construction of the new 19-unit modular housing complex in Queen Charlotte has… Continue reading

Conservation office launches new gaurdian role for Haida Gwaii

Possition developed in part to improve partnerships with Haida Nation

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

All Native Basketball Tournament: Intermediate Finals

All Native Basketball Tournament: Intermediate Finals

VIDEO: Massive elk herd runs across Washington State highway

Elk have been making an appearance in the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Winter storm freezes U.S., halts air travel

Storm dumps snow or heavy rain, snarls travel in much of U.S.

Gwyneth Paltrow: Skier sued me to exploit my fame, wealth

The incident happened in Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read