$40 million Churchill railway upgrade applauded by Northern communities

WINNIPEG — The railway heading north to Churchill will be getting an improvement after a $40 million investment from the federal government.

On Friday, the Arctic Gateway Group (AGG) received $40 million through Indigenous Services Canada’s Strategic Partnerships Initiative.

The AGG is owned by OneNorth Partnership, a partnership between 29 Indigenous and 12 non-Indigenous communities located along the Hudson Bay Railway.

AGG said the funds will go towards improving the Hudson Bay Railway, with a focus on the line between Gillam and Churchill.

“This is good news for the entire region,” said Churchill Mayor Mike Spence, co-chair of the OneNorth partnership, in a news release.

“We need a reliable and safe railway for transportation within the region and to connect with the outside world. This funding is an important step towards that goal, and towards helping Churchill and the region reach their economic potential.”

First Nation members in OneNorth are also applauding the funding.

“We have waited a long time for reliable rail transportation and this gets us closer to that goal,” said War Lake First Nation Chief Betsy Kennedy, a member of the OneNorth board.

“Our communities need the railway to access economic opportunities, health care, and social and cultural opportunities. This investment allows important work to continue and we hope the partnership with the federal government will continue until the job is done.”

In 2018, a major washout of the railway stopped trains from accessing Churchill.

According to Arctic Gateway Group’s website, the AGG runs the only train serviced artic port, an important economic driver in the region.

“This region has immense economic potential, and the way all of our communities have joined together in OneNorth speaks to our determination to build a better future together,” said Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanew Christian Sinclair, also co-Chair of the OneNorth Board.

“We are pleased that the federal government made this investment at a crucial time in our efforts to fix the tracks and build a world-class transportation corridor. We look forward to our continued partnership with Canada to achieve our long-term vision for the Arctic Gateway and Northern Manitoba.”

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