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

Surrey policing plan sent to provincial government for review

‘I urge our residents to come out and help us shape their Surrey Police Department,’ Surrey mayor says

Surrey councillors say they’ve now seen policing transition plan

Locke and Hundial decline to share details of the plan, repeat calls for its release to residents

RCMP target speeders in White Rock, Surrey

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Cloverdale high school raising money for first-ever grad dinner

Bottle and clothing drive will fundraise for Cloverdale Learning Centre’s first graduation dinner

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

Four rescued from Golden Ears mountain

Hikers from Surrey started out for Evans Peak at 6 p.m.

Most Read