The City of Thompson’s leadership had the opportunity to connect with the City of North Battleford at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference in Regina last week, beginning a new collaboration between the cities to share and develop approaches to public safety and community development.
The City of North Battleford and the City of Thompson are both communities of comparable size: both share similar opportunities that come with being a regional service center, along with the challenges of public safety and social issues that stem from it as well.
The two communities are also in discussions with other small cities facing similar issues to expand their partnerships, bring more ideas to the table, and enhance their collective lobbying power.
“Collaboration is critical for the future of small cities across Canada. More and more Canadians are migrating to larger urban centers, yet the importance of small cities hasn’t diminished,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “Cities like ours need to work together to make our communities safer, more beautiful, and remind people across the country of the opportunities we offer.”
City of North Battleford Mayor David Gillan, in a press release issued, noted that “a partnership with Thompson, helps both communities to develop leading-edge innovation, to find opportunities, and develop best practices that will substantially enhance our respective capacities. This partnership has the potential to expand the understanding of our communities and create new options and approaches that can make our municipalities even better places to live and prosper.”
The Government of Canada and the Government of Manitoba recognize the important role recreation facilities play in our communities. Investments to build and upgrade community and recreation infrastructure help Manitobans access the services and networks they need to stay connected, share experiences, and build healthy, inclusive, and vibrant communities.
Today, the Honourable Reg Helwer, Minister of Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services, Her Worship Colleen Smook, Mayor of Thompson, and the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, announced funding to build a new aquatic facility in the City of Thompson.
This new facility will replace Norplex Pool, which closed in 2019, and will provide the residents of Thompson and the surrounding area with a modern and larger multi-use venue. The facility will consist of two tank pools, including a six-lane pool and another pool featuring a shallow end with beach entry and splash pad. The facility will also include a sauna and space for small gatherings and meetings.
The Government of Canada is investing up to $6 million in this project through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program’s Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream. The Government of Manitoba is funding up to $5 million, and the City of Thompson is contributing approximately $4 million towards eligible costs for the project.
“In collaboration with provincial and municipal partners, our Government invests in infrastructure that help create healthy and inclusive communities. The new City of Thompson Aquatic Facility will make a meaningful difference in the lives of residents and continue to make Thompson a vibrant place to live, work, and raise a family.”
The Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“Our government understands the need to invest in critical infrastructure improvements, and our investment in this aquatic facility will help stimulate the economy in Thompson as well as support northern communities as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fine new facility will also improve the quality of life for residents of the Thompson area by providing access to recreation for well-being, which is critical to the creation of healthy communities.”
The Honourable Reg Helwer, Minister of Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services
“A pool in Thompson is not just for Thompson; it is a regional facility for more than 50,000 people who live and work across northern Manitoba, and we are grateful for the support from our partners in securing this funding. Northerners need a fun and safe way to stay active in the winter, and to learn to respect our waterways. Pools like these also bring our region together, and this announcement is amazing news for the north as a whole.”
Her Worship Colleen Smook, Mayor of Thompson
The Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is providing $33.5 billion over 11 years for public infrastructure across Canada. Under this program, provinces and territories prioritize and submit projects to Infrastructure Canada for review. To date, the program has approved more than $20 billion for over 4,500 projects in communities across the country.
Over the last three years, $672,485,271 in federal funding has been approved for 97 infrastructure projects in Manitoba, including 14 community, culture and recreation projects.
In Manitoba, the Government of Canada has invested more than $945 million in over 229 infrastructure projects since 2015.
Pool Plans On Display At 102.9 CHTM Trade Show
Mayor, Council, and City staff were at the 102.9 CHTM Trade Show last weekend showing off the latest renderings and overviews of the Thompson Aquatic Centre plans, and you can check them out here below!
The pool will be build next to the TRCC as a separate building where the running track and football field are currently (they will be relocated at a future date). The separate building helps avoid complications with construction and integration with the existing TRCC.
The pool will have similar features to the old Norplex Pool: a 6-lane competition swimming pool, a shallow pool for learning to swim, a water slide, sauna, and multi-purpose room for birthdays and events. The tanks will be separate, so any unfortunate “foulings” will be isolated to one area of the pool.
The tanks will include accessibility ramps to allow pool users who have trouble with stairs and ladders to access the pool easily, critical for programs like physiotherapy and aquacize.
The water slide will have its own dedicated run-out, to ensure kids don’t run into other pool users while exiting the slide.
Prospective municipal election candidate must register with the Senior Election Official (S.E.O.) during the registration period before they may begin to accept contributions, incur expenses, fundraise or borrow money for their campaign.
Please be advised that a general municipal election will be held on October 26, 2022.
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Senior Election Official will be receiving candidate registrations:
For the office of Mayor between May 1, 2022 and September 20, 2022;
For the office of Councillor between June 30, 2022 and September 20, 2022;
at Thompson City Hall, 226 Mystery Lake Road, Thompson, Manitoba, by arranging an appointment with the S.E.O. during regular business hours.
To obtain a registration form, and submit a registration, please contact the S.E.O at the telephone number listed below.
Despite all of the challenges, from pandemic delays to volatile commodities, the Thompson Aquatic Centre project is still making steady progress. Here’s the latest in progress towards a new pool in Thompson, from designing the facility to paying for it. Designs are expected to be finalized by the end of the summer, there’s new movement in ICIP’s review process, and an exciting announcement is expected at our Regular Meeting of Council tonight.
Planning and Design
Back in January we released a presentation that showed off the exterior renderings of the pool, the floor plans for the Thompson Aquatic Centre, the chosen location and the grounds as they’re currently planned for landscaping.
We’re now two-thirds through the design of the final project: our development staff have received scale blueprints for the full facility, and are reviewing them for accuracy and consistency.
This is a pretty arduous process, going through the document and drafts line-by-line to ensure all of the components are consistently reflected in the document, so that there’s no design-related surprises once construction starts.
The design team is on-track to have the design plans finalized and ready for tendering by the end of the summer.
ICIP: still in the running
The big question on everyone’s mind has been the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Grant, which would fund the bulk of the aquatic centre’s construction.
In September 2019 the City of Thompson applied for the ICIP grant with high hopes that construction might be funded and started by that summer 2020. However, funding announcements were severely delayed when the pandemic was officially declared in March 2020. Provincial and federal offices shifted their priorities to adjusting to the extended emergency unfolding across the country.
In the meantime, the City continued to make the preparations needed for facility construction: our team applied for additional grants (within the same parameters as the ICIP grant), and received proposals from and hired an engineering firm to design the facility.
In September 2021, the Province of Manitoba released a press release highlighting the first round of recipients of the Recreation stream. The City of Thompson’s Aquatic Centre was not included on the list.
However, the City did not receive notification that it had been rejected, and the province clarified that no project was rejected until such a letter had been sent.
Still, with no concrete indication as to the status of the project, council, administration, and the Swim North pool committee has been considering the possibility of funding the new Aquatic Centre without the ICIP grant.
In December 2021, provincial officials reached out to us to clarify details of our proposal.
The Thompson Aquatic Centre project is now officially listed on the federal government’s webpage as “Under Review”. This wasn’t the case during the first round of announcements.
According to the federal website, the federal government will inform its provincial partners of its decision within 60 days of the application being confirmed as completed.
All ICIP funding is pending project approval. No final decisions have been made.
Swim North: Winter Wonderland
The pandemic severely impacted the fundraising activities that the Swim North committee was able to undertake. However, they were able to revive
During its first year, Winter Wonderland brought in roughly $60, 000 in contributions: $35, 000 was from tickets and gate sales, and $25, 000 from Vale Manitoba Operations in exchange for employees accessing the grounds.
This year, Swim North brought in $17, 000 in gate and ticket sales from Winter Wonderland. It’s less than last year’s sales, to be sure. But then again restrictions were looser this winter, and there was a lot more to do this year.
Don’t worry: council is voting on a much bigger contribution from Vale tonight.
Information available at the 102.9 CHTM Trade Show
The 102.9 CHTM Trade Show is returning for the first time in two years, and a always, the City of Thompson will be there. We’ll have the latest plans and renderings from Stantec for the new facility, information about the process so far and the outlook moving forward, as well as updates about the ICIP projects that have been awarded: our road and water renewals.
Council and administration will also be there in-person to answer your questions!
The team from Sled MB 53 paid a visit to Thompson’s City Hall today to announce that Thompson has been named Manitoba’s first Sled-Friendly Community!
The certification is awarded to safe and accommodating destinations for snowmobilers and helps promote snowmobile tourism in Northern Manitoba.
The Sled Friendly certification program makes participants aware of the unique needs of snowmobilers including factors like having warm-up and washroom facilities available, providing space for snowmobile staging, and ensuring gas, lodging and food are accessible for snowmobilers.
The program also ensures community members are familiar with snowmobile operation legislation and the trails available in their area.
“We’re excited to lead the province in earning the Sled-Friendly Community certification. It wouldn’t be possible without the businesses in our community who support snowmobiling, and without our local Thompson Trailbreakers snowmobile club, who help to maintain our local trail network.
Snowmobiling plays a big role in communities across northern Manitoba, and we’re excited to see the certification appear across the region. The best part about snowmobiling in the north is that no matter where you go, you’re welcome here.”
Mayor Colleen Smook, City of Thompson
The Sled-Friendly certification is available for both communities as a whole and individual businesses within those communities: many businesses in Thompson have already achieved the Sled-Friendly certification. It’s administered through a partnership between Sled MB 53 and the Manitoba Tourism Education Council. The training is free for for businesses and communities north of the 53rd parallel!
To learn more about Sled MB 53 and the Sled-Friendly program, visit sledmb53.ca!
Have you noticed a change at Thompson.ca? Our website received a big overhaul this week, and it goes well beyond the ol’ look-and-feel facelift. We’ve also reorganized how our content is structured entirely to help make basic information easier to find for residents, and easier for us to keep updated.
So Where Can I Find My Information Now?
Instead of organizing our information by department (with information linked three layers deep), we’ve re-organized information based on the services people need, following the best practices of other communities of similar size. There’s four basic groups to choose from:
Services: The basic services that residents use every day, including Garbage and Recycling, Street Cleaning, Transit, Water and Wastewater, and more.
Visit and Play: Information about parks, trails, skating, the TRCC as a whole, local attractions, and upcoming events.
Business: Information for businesses and prospective entrepreneurs, like our Community Investment Profile, organizations that can help with planning and funding, licensing requirements, and commercial services.
City Hall: The nitty gritty stuff. Council meetings, strategic plans, by-laws, and home of specific initiatives like Reaching Home.
We’re Still Making Improvements
We’re still making small additions and small adjustments, including:
Fixing launch bugs with our new News section;
Updated information for residential construction requirements and property standards;
Uploading more forms and making them available online;
Geotagging maps for our parks, trailheads, and more;
Upgrading our Recreation Department’s booking system for arenas and gyms
Creating a one-stop shop for people seeking recreational info in Thompson.
The Website Doesn’t Look Right When I Load It!
Does the website look all messed up to you? Don’t worry: we had problems when we fired it up first as well. If you’re on thompson.ca often, your browser has probably stored a bunch of information it’s still trying to call on.
If the website doesn’t look right to you, you likely need to clear your browser’s cache. If you don’t know how to do this, follow these steps or give me a shout:
In the top-right-hand corner of most browsers, there’s usually a symbol made up of three dots.
Click on these dots, and a drop-down menu should appear.
Most Settings functions have a search bar, at the top or on the side. Search the word “cache”
An option should appear that refers to “clear browser data” or something similar. Click this option.
By default, a few different boxes will be checked. You only need to select the option that is similar to “Cached Images and Files”. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the other options that are available, un-check them to avoid any problems with browsing later.
Click “Clear Data”. Sometimes this takes a moment, but once it’s finished, the website should work!
The City of Thompson is pleased to announce that Vale Canada will be contributing up to $125k towards the purchase of asset management software for city operations.
The software is an essential step towards completing and implementing the City of Thompson’s Asset Management Plan, a long-term strategy to ensure City facilities and equipment operate without undue costs, delays, or interruptions into the future.
“Vale is proud to support the City of Thompson with community development initiatives that strengthen and improve the sustainability of Thompson and the region. Vale recognizes the benefits of an asset management program for efficient long-term planning and knows from experience the importance of integrated operations scheduling for cost savings and sustainable improvement.”
Gary Annett, Head of Manitoba Operations
An asset management program will log all city assets into one database, from buildings and parks to equipment of all shapes and sizes. It will create a central place to manage routine maintenance, work orders. It will also help track the cost of that maintenance over time and work with our existing software to incorporate labour hours and more.
What that means is that staff from different levels and departments will be working with from the same set of information and planning framework, so that they can better understand how their decisions impact the finances and operations of other departments and make more informed long-term decisions.
“Planning for sustainability is a critical issue in Thompson, both for the City and for Vale, and we’ll continue to work together as we make big investments into our future in the north. We need a strong plan to make sure those investments last, and we need the right tools to make good on those plans. A clear and complete database for asset management is central to that success.”
The City of Thompson is excited to announce the promotion of Captain Ashling Sweeny to the role of Deputy Fire Chief with Thompson Fire and Emergency Services, making her our first female Deputy Fire Chief in Thompson!
Ashling is a member of Pimicikamak Cree Nation, and she started her emergency services career as an EMS responder and volunteer firefighter in her home community. She was drawn to the dynamic, fast-paced work, and was one of the first people in her community to attend fire college to become a full-time, professional firefighter.
Thompson Fire and Emergency Services trains with fire departments from northern communities on a regular basis, and Ashling still gets to support the fire department with whom she started her career.
“The department at Cross Lake has really come a long way since my days at EMS there,” said Ashling. “Better training, better equipment: I’m really proud of how far northern firefighting has come over the years.”
As Deputy Fire Chief, Ashling’s first priority will be the physical and mental health of the FireMedics under her care. She’ll also be working with the department leadership to build on and further the department’s skillsets, like ice rescue, hazardous materials, and more.
She especially sees wants to help the department create more opportunities for new paramedics and firefighters in Thompson to have positive experiences with Indigenous culture and history:
“We get a lot of young firefighters fresh out of college from down south, and many haven’t even met a lot of Indigenous people. Then they come to Thompson and they’re thrown head-first into the ugliest parts of our history in the north, of addictions, homelessness, and more,” she explains.
“It’s not a fair way to experience our community: not for them as newcomers, and not for the thousands of Cree, Dene, and Metis people who are working hard to raise families and make Thompson a better place. I want them to have the chance to see the culture I know.”
Ashling had a lot of strong role models that shaped the person she is today, including her mother, and she remembers the time she spent with her on the trap line when she was younger.
“It was really physical work, hiking through the woods, carrying animals, on top of coming home to raise eight kids,” she remembered. “Giving up wasn’t an option for her, or being a mom part-time. She woke up every morning and took the opportunities life gave her. When she stumbled, she got right back up.”
For young girls and boys hoping to become firefighters themselves, Ashling has a simple message: “Don’t give up, especially not because someone else told you to.”
The Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba have announced that the City of Thompson will be receiving $47 million towards its Water and Sewer Main Renewal Program as part of the 2019 Investing In Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)’s Green Infrastructure Stream (GIS).
The grant includes a federal contribution of $18.8M, a provincial contribution of $15.6M, and a $12.5M contribution from the City of Thompson. The grant will fund renewal of nearly 14km of water lines in the community, as well as 3.3km of wastewater lines over a five-year period.
Water and wastewater work will be coordinated section by section to be completed prior to overlapping road work, to make sure work is efficient and cost-effective as possible.
Riverside Drive (Granite Crescent to Mystery Lake Road)
Centennial Drive East
Centennial Drive West
Station Road (Princeton Drive to Industrial Area)
Water & Sewer utility upgrades scheduled for renewal through the $47M ICIP grant awarded on August 13, 2021, according to their complementary roads. Construction will take place over a 5-year period.
“This grant didn’t fall in our laps overnight: much like our roadwork announcements earlier this month, this grant took three years of extensive planning and difficult budget choices to prepare for it,” said Mayor Colleen Smook. “Thompson is the Hub of the North, providing services for over 50, 000 people across northern Manitoba, and basic infrastructure like roads, water, and sewer are the bedrock for our businesses and residents who work hard to provide them. This second massive investment, from federal and provincial governments, recognizes our critical role in the north.”
“These two announcements are first few steps towards a new and sustainable future for Thompson. We’re still working with our federal and provincial partners to do more for our residents and the visitors who rely on us every day, in recreation, public safety, and more,” added Mayor Smook.
The Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba have announced that the City of Thompson will be receiving $40 million towards its Road Renewal Program as part of the 2019 Investing In Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP)’s Rural and Northern Infrastructure Stream.
The grant includes a federal contribution of $20M, a provincial contribution of $13.3M, and a $6.7M contribution from the City of Thompson. The grant will fund renewal of nearly 20km of 24 different roads in the community over a five-year period, almost a fifth of Thompson’s entire road network:
Thompson Drive North + South
“Council and administration have been working for three years to achieve this funding. We can’t understate what a massive investment this is: this is equal to a year’s worth of the City’s budget, dedicated exclusively to road work,” said Mayor Collen Smook. “Thompson is bigger than the people who live here: we are the Hub of the North, and people from across the region rely on our infrastructure year-round. This massive investment, from federal and provincial governments, recognizes our critical role in the north.”
“We’re still working hard behind the scenes, and this is just the start of more good things coming for the City,” she added.