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

Communities in Bloom judges check out Stettler’s finest features

National and International results will be announced in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in September

Alberta Prairie Railways marks 30 unforgettable in the biz

Tickets purchased this year go to a special ‘luxury’ train ride for 30 guests

Ethel Williams gifted a donation for the Community Recreation Track resurfacing

The running track in Stettler is a legacy from the 1991 Alberta Summer Games

Annual Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Golf Classic returns

To date, the Gord Bamford Foundation has raised over $3.6 million

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of two children

The RCMP can confirm that these children were siblings

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Bashaw seed cleaning plant holds official opening

New facility operating well since January

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate indecent act at By The Lake Park

Complaint said man exposed himself in Wetaskiwin

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Most Read