While the Port of Churchill is seen by some as a possible salvation for exports, especially oil, from the otherwise landlocked prairie provinces, at least one prominent politician is saying it’s not going to work,

On a day when the federal and Manitoba governments pledged a further $147 million for improvements to the rail line leading to Churchill, Brian Jean, one of the candidates for leadership of the Alberta United Conservative Party and, with that, the premiership of that province, said its not realistic.

In a post on LinkedIn on Aug. 3, Jean said, “Hudson Bay is just not workable. Too much muskeg to get to it by rail or pipeline. Too much ice or icebergs for most of the year even if you could get to Churchill.
Port Nelson is a pipedream that was given up on over 100 years ago. There are no roads or rail that go there.”

That comes from the MLA for Fort McMurray, which has had a lot of work done in the muskeg.

This post on Brian Jean’s LinkedIn shows some of the stark reality of working in muskeg. LinkedIn

However, most of the comments on the post begged to differ.

Dan Odenbach, president at Aggressive Oilfield Rentals Ltd., wrote, “Well this meme is dumb. The amount of crap I’ve worked on and still continue to work on in muskeg areas must all just be a big dream in Alberta’s and BC’s oil patch.”

Geotechnical consultant Alistar James, a professional engineer, said, “We build on Muskeg in Alberta. Why would we be unable to do it elsewhere? Finland and Sweden also do this.”

And Charles Proulx with Paradox Access Solutions Inc. said, “There have been numerous projects within Alberta (and Canada) which have been been built on top of Muskeg / Peat type geotechnical conditions.

“Here are a couple of project examples of successful projects built on muskeg or overtop of Permafrost utilizing Tough Cell technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_krApoaGRo0https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPhdka1ZMGQ.”


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Feds, province pump more money into rail line to Churchill, Man.