Beluga whales have descended upon the Churchill region and the seasonal pull of the warmer water and shallow estuaries of freshwater rivers are driving the migration once again. Having spent over 10 seasons guiding in Churchill, I know the feeling of returning to the region and sharing the waters with thousands of these magical creatures. This is truly one of the most magical experiences on Earth!
The beluga whales of the Hudson Bay and particularly the Churchill River estuary are extremely curious marine mammals that love to troll along with the zodiacs. Rarely do they try to take a chomp at the fine Italian rubber that forms the boats but this guy had some craving I guess. Beluga season in Churchill always brings new surprises that you never expect to see….looks like this one has more in store for us all!
Churchill Arctic summer is one of the most magical times on the planet Earth. When the belugas return to the Churchill River it signals the new season and the bloom of life all over the region on tundra and water. Looking forward to another few months of exciting news and images from the heart of the action in Churchill!
Churchill Summer is a unique time of year in the region. Life explodes all around the tundra and waters of the Hudson Bay and the Churchill River! With news that the train line could be under repair during this summer, the mood of the season has taken on another level of optimism. It’s always an amazing time to be in Churchill!
The Canadian federal transportation regulator ruled last week that Omnitrax Canada is responsible for long-overdue repairs to the Hudson Bay Rail line linking Churchill with the south. The order mandates the tracks restored to usable condition, as quickly as possible.
This new development in the ongoing saga between Port of Churchill owners, Omnitrax, and the government seems to be coming to a crescendo of sorts. Repairs to the Hudson Bay Railroad have been ordered to begin by July 3rd with the additional requirement of filing monthly progress reports on the status of repairs. The Canadian Transportation Agency will be overseeing the project.
According to the transportation regulator, Omnitrax, as the current owner, is bound by a public obligation to restore the tracks and reinstate train service to the isolated communities and the “reasonable pause” in operations has elapsed. The tracks were washed out in May of 2017 due to flooding from two late spring blizzards.
The Canadian Transportation Agency maintains that the Denver-based company was contractually bound to initiate a reasonable plan to repair the tracks the by November 2017. Omnitrax hired an engineering company, AECOM, to assess the damage and then balked at the estimated $60 million estimate of repair costs. Company officials assert the transportation lifeline to the north should be treated as a public utility since commercial ownership of the railway line is no longer viable. The government has been insinuating that Omnitrax is trying to shirk its responsibilities since the time of the flooding.
Omnitrax’s argument continues with the premise that the flood was a “force majeure” event defined as an exceptional happening that nixes the firm’s contractual obligations.