Manitoba

Mayors, chiefs ask governments to make sure Port of Churchill reopens next year

Manitoba mayors, chiefs and reeves are calling on the federal and provincial governments to make sure the Port of Churchill reopens in time for the 2017 grain-shipping season.

Association of Manitoba Municipalities to debate "emergency motion" on shuttered Arctic seaport

Churchill Mayor Mike Spence, backed by northern mayors, want the Port of Churchill open in time for the 2017 grain-shipping season. (CBC)

Manitoba mayors, chiefs and reeves are calling on the federal and provincial governments to make sure the Port of Churchill reopens in time for the 2017 grain-shipping season.

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities will debate what it calls an emergency motion about the shuttered port this afternoon at its annual gathering at RBC Convention Centre.

The motion calls for Ottawa and Manitoba to ensure grain flows out of Canada's only deepwater Arctic seaport, which Denver-based owner OmniTRAX closed without warning or explanation in July.

Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said OmniTRAX is negotiating with potential buyers of the port and the Hudson Bay Railway behind the scenes.

He said Ottawa and Manitoba should be a party to those negotiations in order to ensure the long-term viability of both the port and the railway.

"We will not allow the line to be sold for scrap," he said.

Opaskwayak Cree Nation Chief Christian Sinclair said so many northern communities depend on the rail line, its future is the most pressing economic issue in the north, now that a deal has been reached to ensure the Tolko paper mill in The Pas remains open.

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