Northern Manitoba transportation corridor would have ‘revolutionary impact’ – by Sean Pratt (The Western Producer – July 6, 2017)

A Senate committee has endorsed a plan to build a northern transportation corridor that would revitalize the Port of Churchill. The banking, trade and commerce committee has embraced a proposal by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy to build a 7,000 kilometre east-west corridor through Canada’s north.

“(It) will have as revolutionary an impact on today’s Canadian economy as the coast-to-coast railway did in the 1800s,” the committee said in a news release accompanying its 50-page report on the proposal.

“The idea is to establish a right-of-way that would accommodate highways, railways, pipelines as well as electrical transmission and communications networks.” The right-of-way would tie into existing infrastructure such as the Trans-Canada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Port of Churchill.

Kent Fellows, a research associate with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and one of the architects of the plan, said the Port of Churchill could be the focal point of the ambitious project. He noted that the 7,000 kilometre corridor won’t be built all at once but rather in bits and pieces.

“We do have some infrastructure up around Churchill, so that seems like a logical place where we’d expect the early construction to go,” said Fellows. The port is currently closed and its owner, OmniTrax, Canada is searching for a buyer.

Fellows said it’s a shame that the port is closed because geographically, it is a natural port for shipping agricultural products to Europe from the prairie provinces.

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