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

Castlegar’s Waterline property purchased; owners to protect it for rock climbers

New owners plan to subdivide, sell bluffs to recreational climbing group

Grand Forks daycare now part of universal childcare program

The spaces will now cost a maximum of $200 per month.

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Letter: City hall flag needs to be replaced

Legion member Sandra Doody said the City Hall flag is embarassing.

Children’s books needed for Christmas hampers

Considering donating some books this Christmas.

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

Woman searching for father last seen in Nelson in 1999

Johnson’s daughter, Chandra Machin, is searching for her father

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Two B.C. police officers, held in Cuba for months, cleared of sex assault allegations

Port Moody Const. Jordan Long and Vancouver Const. Mark Simms have been in Cuba since March

Most Read