Ottawa gave $100,000 in stimulus funding to the Churchill ice trail project, painting it as an empowering move for locals to creating a supply lifeline for the northern Manitoba town, in lockstep with Indigenous people.
Earlier this year, federal Trade Minister Jim Carr recalled personally handing over a cheque to the team, saying it could help cement Churchill’s role in a looming Arctic strategy. The idea was to have employees consider serving even more remote communities in northern Manitoba and Nunavut, thus providing winter employment to summer tourism and port workers.
The recent reality television show Ice Road Truckers profiled Polar Industries as its carved out routes in the muskeg at extreme temperatures and poured water over dips in the path to create some flooded trail.
In May, Fox Lake filed a $1.3-million suit against Polar Industries, with the First Nation claiming an unfair share of revenue and expenses; Polar filed a similar counterclaim. In August, Wintec Building Services filed its own suit claiming Polar hadn’t paid $57,000 in hauling services to help build a school in York Landing.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The University of Manitoba had to twice delay its planned construction of Churchill Marine Observatory, initially due to the rail disruption and this past winter because of problems with the ice trail.
— Dylan Robertson