Sunday, March 25, 2018

Break On Through

The Hudson's Bay Quest sled dog race got cancelled this year. This is an annual event that has been going since 2004 but, without a railway service to Churchill, it was a little tough to get all the dogs and equipment in place. Another nail in the coffin of lost opportunity for Churchill Manitoba.

Neither the government or the railway company have dealt with the washed out tracks from the winter of 2017 and the town of Churchill continues to sit in limbo as it waits for the politics and lawsuits to eventually decide things. Tourism of course has been down as well for the polar bear and beluga whale viewing. But worst of all is the shutdown of the port itself.

Port of Churchill
Located on the shores of Hudson Bay the Port has never been able to live up to its full potential in spite of being operational since 1929 when the railway link to Winnipeg and the Port itself were completed. This is mainly because of ice which covers the Bay half the year but with global warming this could gradually change. While primarily an alternative outlet for the grain farmers, it could also be more effectively utilized as a staging post for supplying the communities of Nunavut and a conduit for Western oil & gas exports.

Even more interesting and exciting would be the establishment of an Arctic Bridge between Churchill and Murmansk in Russia which is connected by rail to St. Petersburg and the rest of Europe. Ships would travel between the two ports for at least 6 months of the year aided by icebreakers that, in the case of Canada at least, would be based out of Churchill as part of our commitment to establishing a permanent and viable Arctic presence.

For now it's all talk and pipe dreams. The ice comes and goes every winter and spring and everyone has to make the best of whatever opportunity presents itself. But whether you are a husky dog, a polar bear or the Town of Churchill it would be nice to finally break on through the impasse.

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