'You could feel the frustration': Churchill, Man., residents gather to learn what's next
Community meets after only rail line into the northern town suspended till at least winter
Fear, confusion and hope were in the air at a community meeting in Churchill, Man., on Monday night as residents gathered to learn what's next for their subarctic town, now a fly-in community with the closure of the only rail line.
- Province not ready to send workers north to help with Churchill train woes
- Churchill residents face rising cost of food after rail line suspended
Clace estimates as many as 400 residents turned up to the meeting, which covered the myriad issues now facing the town as the only rail line into the community remains closed. There's no road to the town of 900, which is 1,000 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Among the many concerns were the cost of groceries, rising shipping costs and the feeling of isolation, which Clace said has become the hardest part for her.
She had planned to leave Churchill this summer to visit family, but now she's stuck in town because she can't afford the cost of a plane ticket out.
"The isolation is probably the strongest factor because all of the sudden you feel trapped, like you have no opportunity to really leave," Clace said.
"Things were a bit scary over the weekend … but after talking to mayor and council a lot of my questions have been answered," Watts said.
"They've given us some options as individuals to be proactive about the situation."
Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said his community is resilient and will find a way to get through this latest hurdle.
Community sticking together
The mayor said he still hasn't heard directly from Premier Brian Pallister but has been in contact with provincial officials.
The province said Monday it isn't ready to send help into Churchill to restore the rail line.
Spence is still calling on both the federal and provincial governments to create a subsidy for food and supplies that are flown into the community while the rail line is closed.
Need 'our lives back'
"The task for us is to get the line up and running so we can have our lives back."
Spence said the top priority for him is to get the rail line, owned by Denver-based OmniTrax, reopened.
"We need the rail line back in service."
OmniTrax said the rail line suffered unprecedented damage from spring flooding and will remain closed until at least winter.
Omnitrax said it has been in contact with Transport Canada and the province, as well as the Missinippi Rail Consortium, which recently signed a memorandum of understanding about the potential acquisition of the rail line and the Port of Churchill.
Spence said he will be in Winnipeg on Wednesday to give an update on the situation in Churchill.