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Federal government approve subsidy for stranded Churchill, Man.

Flood waters have caused extensive damage to much of the railway that provides supplies to Churchill.
Flood waters have caused extensive damage to much of the railway that provides supplies to Churchill. OmniTRAX / Submitted

WINNIPEG — The federal government is extending its northern food subsidy program to Churchill, a Manitoba town that has been without rail service for more a month.

RELATED: Leaders in Churchill worried businesses won’t survive rail closure

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has directed her department to include Churchill in the Nutrition North program, which subsidizes the cost of shipping food to remote, fly-in communities.

Churchill Mayor Mike Spence says the announcement is a relief, but details of the size of the subsidies are still being determined.

RELATED: Mayor of Churchill says rail line repairs taking too long

Spence says the real goal is to restore rail service, which would reduce the cost of transporting goods and people to the subarctic town on the western shore of Hudson Bay.

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Flooding this spring damaged several sections of the rail line to Churchill and its owners, Omnitrax, say it will likely be next spring before the line can be repaired.

RELATED: Winter fuel expected to be a challenge for Churchill

The rail line is the only land link to Churchill, and local residents have been worried about rising food prices and a drop in tourism now that air travel is the only way to get to the town.