Council Approves $500, 000 Gift from Canadian Jumpstart Charities To Construct New Multisport Court

Mayor and Council has approved a $500,000 gift from the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities to construct a new Inclusive Multisport Court in the existing Westdale Tot Lot, located on Thompson Drive near the intersection of Thompson Drive and Beaver Crescent.

The 13,200 square foot fully inclusive court will include opportunities for play for children of all abilities to experience a multitude of sport and adapted sport activities that include basketball, tennis, ball hockey, volleyball, pickleball, and more.

The court is marked with strong, contrasting colours to support users with visual impairments, lit up by high-powered LED lights, and features shaded, double-wide benches and wheelchair-accessible seating. The court is located along the City of Thompson’s existing wheelchair-accessible multi-use path.

The Inclusive Multisport Court is funded by a $500,000 gift from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Thompson’s local Canadian Tire Dealer, Mike Howell. The contribution is provided as part of Jumpstart’s Inclusive Play Project, which focuses on accessible infrastructure and programming, to help give Canadian kids of all abilities access to sport and play.

The City of Thompson will provide $100,000 in project supports and ensure infrastructure is in place so that the court is fully accessible.

The court is expected to be constructed and completed in 2021.

“Affordable and accessible recreation is a priority of our council this term, and we’re thrilled to accept this gift from Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “We’d like to extend our thanks to Mike Howell, the Dealer of our local Canadian Tire location, who has been an active member of our Community Wellness and Safety Advisory Committee and an active member of our community at large.”

“Through Jumpstart’s Inclusive Play Project, the Charity is always looking for opportunities to help improve accessibility and inclusivity for kids across Canada,” said Mike Howell, Canadian Tire Dealer, Thompson. “Bringing a multisport court to the Thompson community will provide kids of all abilities with additional opportunities to access sport and play – opportunities that are needed now more than ever as we emerge from these challenging times.”

Council Approves New Committee Structure at 2020 Organizational Meeting of Council

Last night, at the City of Thompson’s annual Organizational Meeting of Council, Mayor and Council approved a new committee structure designed to streamline council business and improve the sharing of information among departments.

Mayor: Colleen Smook

Deputy Mayor: Duncan Wong

Legislative and Finance Committee

Formerly the Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs (LIGA) Committee and the Finance Committee

Many of the issues discussed at the original Finance committee are directly related to our lobbying efforts with other levels of government, such as grants, transfers, and provincial tax allocations. By combining Finance and LIGA committees, we can more closely align our lobbying efforts with our financial priorities.

  • Deputy Mayor Duncan Wong (Chair)
  • Councillor Valentino
  • Councillor Lundmark
  • Mayor Colleen Smook

Human Resources Committee

The structure of the Human Resources Committee remains largely unchanged.

Your Human Resources Committee Council members are:

  • Councillor Brian Lundmark (Chair)
  • Councillor Braden McMurdo
  • Mayor Colleen Smook

Public Works and Infrastructure Committee

Formerly the Public Works Committee and (partially) Development Review Committee

Infrastructure, asset management, and capital projects like road renewal and building renovations have long been the responsibility of the Development Review Committee, while maintenance activities have functioned separately under Public Works. Now, decisions surrounding upgrades will be made hand-in-hand with the departments responsible for maintaining them in the long-term. This can help is better identify areas that need attention, and better overview of the lifetime cost of new assets and infrastructure.

Your Public Works and Infrastructure Committee council members are:

  • Councillor Kathy Valentino (Chair)
  • Councilllor Brian Lundmark
  • Mayor Colleen Smook

Recreation and Community Services Committee

Formerly the Recreation Committee and Public Safety Committee

The Community Safety Survey published in August reinforced the connection between recreation, community services, social cohesion and public safety in Thompson. As a direct result, Council has integrated Public Safety and Recreation committees into the single Recreation and Community Services Committee. Public safety will continue to be discussed in the committee, while recreation will be approached with an emphasis on accessibility and community-building, and how Thompson’s built environment can both foster community while ensuring safety.

Your Recreation and Community Services Committee councillors are:

  • Councillor Braden McMurdo (Chair)
  • Councillor Kathy Valentino
  • Mayor Colleen Smook

Development Review Committee

The Development Review Committee structure remains largely unchanged, with the exception that capital projects are more substantially discussed in the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Otherwise, the committee will continue to review business and zoning applications within the city.

  • Councillor Andre Proulx (Chair)
  • Councillor Jeff Fountain
  • Mayor Colleen Smook

Communications Committee

The Communications Committee has been dissolved: communications activities will now be planned within existing committee frameworks and centrally supported by the Communications Officer. This way, news is more directly delivered to the Communications department, and public awareness initiatives can be coordinated more directly with the departments they serve.

City of Thompson Responds to Treatment of Detainee, Changes to CSO Oversight and Public Safety Strategy

Recently, a news organization has released a video from January 2018 that involves the detention of a young Indigenous woman under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act (IPDA) by the City’s Community Safety Officers (CSOs) in the local RCMP cells.

As the case is currently before the courts, we cannot release all of the details, but we want to provide you with an update on the latest information and the actions that have been taken.

Though the altercation happened in January 2018, neither the Mayor’s office nor City Manager’s office was informed of what had transpired until seven months later, in August 2018, when Manitoba Justice reached out to Thompson’s Director of Fire and Public Safety at the time. In turn, he reached out to the RCMP to get an update. The CSO was cleared by RCMP’s Use of Force Expert at the time, and no disciplinary action was taken.

A copy of the security footage was not provided to the city by the RCMP, and the current administration is viewing parts of this footage for the first time. Once the City receives a copy of the full video through the court process, the City will review the footage to determine our next steps.

Since the incident, the following changes to the CSO program have been implemented:

  • As of May 2020, supervision of CSO’s has returned to a dedicated Public Safety Manager to ensure proper oversight, and that the mandated training, which includes use of force and cultural proficiency training, is adhered to;
  • When use-of-force incidents occur in the future, the City has asked the RCMP to immediately notify the City of Thompson’s Public Safety Manager and City Manager;
  • The City Manager, in consultation with the Public Safety Manager and HR, will conduct an investigation.

There has been significant change-over at the City of Thompson since the incident, both in administration and among Mayor and Council. Since the turn-over at the end of 2018, administration and City Council quickly recognized that the previous approach to public safety was not working.

Since February 2020, the City of Thompson, the Province of Manitoba, and 20 different community organizations have been working together to create an all-encompassing public safety strategy, with the help of independent consultants Community Safety and Knowledge Alliance. This includes representatives from education, social services, healthcare, addictions treatment, and Indigenous government organizations. Reducing the role of conventional law enforcement in addressing mental health and intoxication is a top priority of this strategy.

Supporting this strategy is the announcement of a new $2.8 million sobering center last June. This center will provide 24/7 safe and secure space where non-violent, intoxicated people can stay until they sober up under trained supervision, independent from law enforcement. This will help reduce the involvement of law enforcement in the care of intoxicated individuals, as well as help connect clients with wrap-around social services who can help them address addictions.

The City of Thompson commissioned a Community Safety and Well-being Strategy, and from that, we have now identified our strategic priorities, including:

  • Lessen youth exposure to crimes as victims, witnesses, and perpetrators;
  • Lessen the frequency and burden of problematic alcohol use on individuals and the community;
  • Reduce factors driving the demand on policing resources from social disorder calls;
  • Enhance experiences of social inclusion and Justice and reduce systemic and other forms of racism;
  • Expand safe and attainable shelter and housing options for people experiencing vulnerabilities;
  • Renew and better maintain the environment in Thompson to improve how people can connect to strengthen social cohesion.

The City of Thompson is committed to working with all of our stakeholders in the community to follow through on all of these initiatives that, in turn, will make for a better community for all of us.

As Mayor Smook has stated before, “We need to recognize that we are working to fix issues over three decades in the making, but with a sustained, committed effort, we will see a safer, healthier Thompson.”

Thompson YWCA COVID-19 Outbreak Update – Contingency Plan in Effect – What’s Open and What’s Not

This press release has been prepared by the YWCA. We are distributing it on their behalf at their request.

(Thompson MB – Oct 16, 2020) A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared and remains in effect at the YWCA in Thompson in an effort to stop any further spread of the virus at the facility. The public heath investigation has identified that the risk to short-term stay residents is low, however, out of an abundance of caution, public health has recommended self monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms to anyone who stayed at the YWCA between October 4 – 14, 2020.

“We thank the public and our partners for their outpouring of support during this challenging time,” Executive Director Kim Hickes said. “The outbreak is contained on the third floor and it’s important for the public to know that we are maintaining our operations in the rest of the building as best we can.”

The Y’s Shelter in Place Program (SHIPP) operates from the third floor. The program is self-contained on the third floor of the YWCA: program participants access the building through the separate entrance, and interactions with staff and clients outside of this program are extremely limited. Visitor access has been restricted as a result.

The SHIPP initiative was developed earlier this year to address concerns over COVID-19 and Thompson’s homeless residents.

Public Health staff from the Northern Health Region are conducting contact tracing and are supervising the staff and clients currently in isolation.

“We really need a community effort to support the Y and its operations as they work with health officials to contain and address this outbreak,” YWCA Board President Charlene Lafreniere said. “Kindness and understanding go a long way at a time like this and we know if we work together as Northerners, we can beat this.”

Media Contact:
Kim Hickes, Executive Director YWCA
(204) 679-7069

Background information on the SHIPP initiative can be found here: https://northernernews.ca/2020/04/18/ywca-first-wave-homeless-pandemic

MCMURDO BECOMES CITY COUNCILLOR, CRIPPS SCHOOL TRUSTEE IN 2020 MUNICIPAL BY-ELECTION

The votes are in! Braden McMurdo has won the 8th City Council seat with 355 votes, and Li Cripps has won the office of School Trustee with 630 votes.

A total of 1104 residents turned out to cast their votes.

The voter turn-out this year is slightly lower than the last by-election in 2019, where 1202 votes were cast among three candidates for City Council.

City CouncilVotesSchool TrusteeVotes
Braden McMurdo355Li Cripps630
Kathleen Bluesky280Bryan Young454
David Kobliski48
Ron Matechuk293
Jason Bayer117

Making Masks Work For You

Masks are an important part of slowing the spread of COVID-19. We’ve known for some time that masks stop the immediate spread of particles created by breathing, coughing, or sneezing, and the US CDC recently updated it’s webpage to acknowledge that respiratory particles may remain in the air longer than a few minutes.

Though masks may offer you limited protection, their primary purpose is to keep other people safe. That means that the more people who wear masks, the more effective masks are at stopping the spread of the disease.

What makes a good non-medical mask?

The best materials for non-medical masks include at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric. They should provide a relatively snug fit over your mouth and nose, and ideally under your chin to catch the most droplets.

You can test how effective your mask is with a candle or a lighter. A good mask should make it difficult to blow out the lighter.

How do I make the most of my mask?

Health Canada offers these guidelines for wearing and handling non-medical masks:

  • Wear your mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Inspect your mask for rips and holes regularly.
  • Handle your mask by the ear loops, and avoid touching the surface with unclean hands.
  • Wash your re-usable mask in warm, soapy water regularly.
  • Keep a paper bag or ziploc handy to store your mask when not in use.
  • Don’t wear your mask loosely.
  • Don’t remove your mask to talk to someone.
  • Don’t share your mask
  • Don’t leave your mask hanging off of an ear or your neck.

I have a hard time wearing a mask. What can I do?

Breathe through your nose. We often instinctively breathe through our mouths when something is put over our face. However, this is a fight-or-flight response, and can lead to feelings of panic and anxiety. Try to consciously remember to breathe through your nose. It will smell a lot better, too.

You may need a different mask. Try a variety of cuts and materials that still meet the basic requirements for a mask. The best masks are light and resist moisture build-up inside.

You can also buy a plastic bracket that creates a bit of room between your mouth, making even the most uncomfortable masks a bit easier to breathe in. Check out a few options in this article: 7 Face Brackets To Make Your Mask More Comfortable!

If your glasses fog up a lot while wearing a mask, try anti-fog wipes like these ones from Smith Optics. They use a hydrophobic coating to stop glasses from fogging up once applied. They work great, and they’re especially handy in the winter, pandemic or not!

Neckwarmers may not be enough.

Research-wise, the jury is out whether neckwarmers are an effective mask. It will also be up to businesses and service providers to decide whether they will allow neckwarmers to substitute for masks during the winter.

The safest bet is to carry a dedicated mask to use indoors!

Masks are just one part of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remember to distance yourself physically, avoid travel if possible, and stay home if you’re sick. Check out our basic guidelines article for more information!

Read more about non-medical masks at this link from Health Canada: Safely Using A Non-Medical Mask

Basic Guidelines For Staying Safe During COVID-19.

COVID-19 has officially been identified in Thompson for the first time since the spring, so its important we all take basic pandemic precautions seriously.

Please remember the basic rules and guidelines that have been in place since March. Don’t wait until the numbers start climbing: following these guidelines now helps ensure that local cases remain isolated and do not spread.

  • Stay home when you’re sick. If you can work from home, great! If you can’t, be sure to speak with your employer about your options around time off due to illness.
  • Space yourselves out. Two meters/six feet is the standard distance, however this is only a guideline. The more distance you give people, the better.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently. At the very least, clean your hands before entering a public place, and after you get home.
  • Wear a mask. The best fabrics for non-medical masks are at least two layers of cotton, polypropylene, or some combination of the two. When you’re not wearing a mask, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Learn more at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/covid-19-safely-use-non-medical-mask-face-covering.html
  • Limit your shopping trips, and the number of shoppers. Make a list of what you need, and send only one person at a time to run errands. This limits your exposure and gives everyone room to breathe. Follow all precautions put in place by stores and service providers.
  • Show compassion. Not everyone catches COVID-19 because they were irresponsible. In the meantime, there are practical difficulties to self-isolating for a lot of people. Find out how you can lend a helping hand at https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/prepareandprevent.htm

To avoid more drastic closures and public health orders, its important that we all do our part to ensure COVID-19 spreads as slowly as possible. It’s never been easier to save a life!

We Want To Help Businesses Support Electric Vehicles in Thompson!

Help pioneer electric vehicle infrastructure in Thompson! Natural Resources Canada has announced that businesses interested in hosting Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations can apply to have 50% ($5,000 max per outlet) of the purchase and installation costs covered by the federal government under the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program.

Each application must be submitted as a community, and requires a minimum of 20 outlets to be considered for the grant. The City of Thompson will coordinate identifying interested businesses and organizations in Thompson, who would like to take advantage of this grant opportunity, as we work in putting together a submission.

We would like to have as many interests being expressed by October 30, 2020 to demonstrate to the Federal Government that Thompson is serious about taking a unified approach towards becoming a greener, EV-friendly community.

If you’re a commercial or multi-unit residential property owner and are interested in accessing the grant, please contact our Economic Development Coordinator, Keisha Davis at ecdev@thompson.ca to find out more.

We’ve applied for one charging station so far!

Back in July, Council approved the application to fund the purchase and installation of a Level 3 charging station at the TRCC with the help of Natural Resources Canada.

A Level 3 charger is among the fastest consumer chargers, and can charge a vehicle battery from 0-80% in roughly 20 minutes. However, the cost of these charging stations limits the number that we can effectively purchase and install.

Why are we keen on Electric Vehicles?

Charging stations in Thompson also open up new opportunities for Winter Weather Testing in Thompson by delivering the infrastructure that testers need, and open doors to help the next generation of electric vehicles ready for the real-world rigors of northern Canada.

Electric vehicle battery technology also relies heavily on nickel, which means supporting the adoption of electrical vehicles also supports our local mining economy.

Contact for Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program:

Keisha Davis
Economic Development Coordinator
ecdev@thompson.ca

Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Thompson

Provincial Public Health officials have confirmed a case of COVID-19 in the Thompson/Mystery Lake District of the Northern Health Region.

Public Health nurses and staff are already conducting extensive contact tracing and monitoring, and the City of Thompson is working closely with the Northern Health Region and community partners to help contain this event.

Mayor and Council would like to remind residents to continue to practice the fundamentals to keep COVID-19 at bay in the North:

  • Stay home when you feel sick;
  • Wash your hands frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze;
  • Follow all precautions implemented by local businesses;
  • Maintain physical (social) distancing, and wear a mask when in group settings;
  • Limit errand runs and groceries to one person, if possible.

“No one should be surprised or caught off-guard by this announcement: we knew this day was coming. That’s why it’s important that we follow precautions and public health orders properly,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “This positive case does not need to turn into an outbreak, but we need to start taking this virus seriously.”

All municipalities in Manitoba have been advised to refer to and publish case information as it is publicly released by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer and the Province of Manitoba to ensure information is accurate and consistent. The City of Thompson will provide updates as the situation progresses, in due collaboration with provincial authorities.

If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, we encourage residents to use the Manitoba Shared Health self-screening tool prior to reporting to a testing location.

Download the COVID-19 Alert app from Health Canada to find out if you have been in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. The More people who use the app, the more effective it will be.

Visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19 for accurate information about COVID19 in Manitoba.

More Road Work Is Coming This Season, Weather Permitting!

***Update, September 14, 2020:

Public Works crews were able to repair the Princeton Drive/Purdue Place intersection themselves, so instead, we’ll be paving part of Weir Road instead!


We will also be addressing the Thompson Drive access to City Centre Mall in lieu of the Westwood Drive/Thompson Drive intersection. Though both sections of road need attention, the mall access is in more urgent need of care.

Original Article:

The first layers of asphalt went down on Thompson Drive this week, but we have even better news heading into the weekend!

With some tight project management from our Manager of Infrastructure, the Thompson Drive paving project has come in at almost $200, 000 under budget. That means we can pave an additional five intersections this fall!

As there is limited time remaining in the construction season, completion of additional roadwork will depend on the amount of rain we continue to receive into the fall: paving cannot take place in the rain.

However, if the weather cooperates, our plan is to repair the following areas:

  • Thompson Drive/Westwood Drive intersection
  • Westwood Drive between Arctic Drive and Partridge Crescent (southbound lane)
  • Waterloo Crescent/Nelson Road Intersection
  • Princeton Drive/Purdue Place Intersection
  • Elizabeth Drive (Highway 6/City Hall Access)

Our original road renewal plan had to be scaled back quite a bit when bid prices came in much higher than previous years. We’re really excited to recover a portion of our original vision this year!