Premier Brian Pallister said the province plans to convert propane-heated homes in Churchill to hydroelectric heat to help the northern Manitoba city cope with the loss of its rail service.

Pallister said Friday the province intends to convert at least 100 Manitoba Housing units in Churchill to hydroelectric heat, though he could not say how much that would cost or when the work would happen.

Propane is difficult to move to Churchill since the community's rail service ended during an unusual heavy spring snowmelt that damaged the Hudson Bay Railway, the only land link to the Hudson Bay community.

Premier Brian Pallister

Premier Brian Pallister said he has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ascertain Ottawa's intentions about helping Churchill. (CBC News)

The community was already reeling from the closure of its port last July and reductions to its rail service. Pallister said uncertainty over the future of both the port and railway, owned by Denver-based firm OmniTRAX, led him to write Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ascertain Ottawa's intentions about both amenities in the future.

Pallister said he still envisions a future for the port, given the prospect of ice-free Arctic summers and a lengthened shipping season because of climate change.

Ports, however, remain under federal jurisdiction, he said.