Survey: Should Thompson Have Fewer Councillors Next Term?

Last night, Thompson’s city council read for the first time a new Composition of Council By-Law: if passed, the amendment would reduce the number of councillors from eight councillors and a mayor to six councillors and a mayor.

Before the by-law proceeds to it’s second reading, council is looking for your input: do you want to keep the number of councillors the same, or reduce the number of councillors from eight to six? Vote in the poll below before Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 11:45pm. You can also fill out the survey in-person at City Hall. It’s very short!

Thompson Council Composition Survey

How do council sizes in other cities stack up?

Below you can see how other cities in Manitoba compare in their population against their council composition.

Councillors in Brandon and Winnipeg work full time, and each councillor represents a ward, or a specific region in the city to whom they are responsible, much like provincial or federal officials.

In Manitoba’s smaller cities, like Thompson, councillors are part-time, and share the duty of representing the city as a whole.

Population is not the only thing that influences a council size. Every community is different: the population, the organization of committees, and the expectations of the community all affect how many councillors are needed to fulfill their roles.

CityPopulationCouncillors (Exc. Mayor)Wards
Brandon51, 31310Yes
Portage La Prairie13, 2706No
Steinbach17, 8066No
Thompson13, 0358No
Winkler13, 7457No
Dauphin8, 3686No
Flin Flon4, 9406No
Morden9, 9296No
Selkirk10, 5046No
Winnipeg749, 60715Yes
Table Comparing Council Sizes to Populations in Manitoba

What Do Councillors Do?

Section 82 of Manitoba’s Municipal Act succinctly describes council as responsible for:

(a) for developing and evaluating the policies and programs of the municipality;

(b) for ensuring that the powers, duties and functions of the municipality are appropriately carried out; and

(c) for carrying out the powers, duties and functions expressly given to the council under this or any other Act.

§82, C.C.S.M c. M225 The Municipal Act

The Council Members Guide, published each council term by the Province of Manitoba and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities builds on these responsibilities:

Decision-making – Council is responsible for making fair and transparent decisions based on relevant information, discussion and a majority vote.

Governance – Council is responsible for passing the local bylaws that govern people and their municipality on a wide range of topics, from animal control to zoning.

Representation – Council is democratically elected. As representatives of the community, council members are responsible to listen to and engage with the public, and consider the best interests of the whole municipality.

Stewardship – Council is responsible for the supervision and care of the municipality’s resources. This means making sure that infrastructure, money and staff are used properly and effectively. This also means planning strategically for the challenges and opportunities of the future.

p. 25, 2018 Council Member’s Guide: Once Elected, What’s Expected?

Week 4 of Clean Community Month Starts Today!

It’s the fourth week of Clean Community Month in Thompson, and this week, we’re in the Westwood and Burntwood areas!

Send us your photos and the names of your clean-up team for a chance to win a Hub of the North Hoodie, a prize pack from Recycle Everywhere and the Thompson Recycling Center, and this week’s big prize from Canadian Tire: A two-piece CANVAS Beaumount Patio Chair set!

As the wind picks up, it seems like there’s still plenty of litter still blowing into the downtown area. We’re more than happy to accept entries from downtown cleaners as well!

Thank you to our sponsors!

Thompson Recycling Center

Recycle Everywhere!

Canadian Tire

AMP Industries

NCN Thompson Bus

Assante Wealth Management


Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in Week 3: Individuals can’t win the draw a second time, but if you go out to clean up again, other members of your team definitely can! If you didn’t win last week, you can still participate and get a second chance this week!

Province Announces $2.8 million in funding for Sobering Center in Thompson

Cover photo: Justice Minister Cliff Cullen answers media questions at City Hall in December 19. A provincial delegation was not able to travel north for the announcement due to COVID-19 precautions.

On Monday, June 8, 2020, the Province of Manitoba announced a major step towards improving public safety and addressing addictions in northern Manitoba. Minister Cliff Cullen announced $2.8 million to establish and run a sobering center in Thompson, a critical piece towards a full-fledged Main Street North initiative.

The sobering center will be a 24-hour facility where severely-intoxicated individuals can take shelter while the effects of alcohol wear off. Individuals will each have their own room, and will be monitored at regular intervals for complications related to withdrawal.


“The City of Thompson’s Sobering Center project will be an invaluable and non-criminal means of providing a safe and secure location for vulnerable people. This project will help alleviate significant policing resources in the City of Thompson, and enable us to redirect them towards other national, provincial, and local policing priorities.”

Staff Sgt. Chris Hastie, Thompson RCMP

The first immediate benefit of a sobering center is to reduce the number of police interventions with intoxicated individuals, and to reduce the burden on Thompson’s holding cells.

Individuals in Thompson were held under the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act (more commonly known as the drunk tank) over 2000 times in 2019. Not only do these detentions take up significant RCMP time and resources to process, but it also makes it difficult for staff and cell guards to properly monitor the people who are being lodged.

A dedicated sobering center reduces the burden on RCMP facilities and officers, leaving them free to address criminal issues like violence and drug trafficking more effectively. Those lodging at the sobering center benefit from more personal space, security from more aggressive residents in holding, the opportunity to stay longer at the sobering center, and more frequent, attentive supervision including detailed check-ins every 15 minutes. Alcohol is one of the few intoxicants where withdrawal can be fatal, depending on the level of dependence.

“We have access to a non-medical withdrawal unit in Thompson, but people who present a risk to themselves or others need safe lodging, with supervision and security, to detoxify before they enter the withdrawal unit.”

Gisele M. deMeulles, Northern Director, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba


Dedicated sobering centers create an opportunity for one-on-one interactions and counseling for those sobering up at the facility. They create a hub where users can be directed towards further treatment options like withdrawal units and long-term counseling and recovery.

A sobering center alone still only provides short-term shelter for residents lodged at the facility, but it’s an important first step towards a holistic program like Winnipeg’s Main Street Project. The Main Street Project provides local outreach programs, counseling, addictions services, and supportive/transitional housing programs either within the same facility, or as part of the same organization. This streamlines the recovery process for clients by reducing barriers due to bureaucracy, poor information, and geography.

The Main Street North project would also help ensure programs were culturally relevant to individuals seeking treatment and recovery, including western and Indigenous frameworks in the north.

“My 40 plus years in Thompson have shown me the need for a sobering center where individuals can be assessed, housed, referred and treated humanely through a safe and medically-supervised sobering process. Staff that recognize mental health issues, investigate referrals to addictions services and assist with health needs and family contact are all a part of an effective sobering center.”

John Donovan, Former Director, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Northern Region, Current Community Advisory Board on Homelessness Member


Projects like Main Street, and in the future Main Street North, provide services based on a housing-first approach. Housing-first approaches recognize that safe, reliable shelter is a foundational part of recovery, and aims to provide housing before other interventions like addictions counselling and employment support (though these services are always provided in conjunction with transitional shelter).

Over the last ten years, studies from across urban centers in Canada have demonstrated the success of housing-first approaches in successful recovery, including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Toronto, Moncton, and Montreal (which was the focus of a landmark study that ended in 2013). and the model continues to develop best practices to implement across the country.

“A project like this needs collaboration and commitment from a broad range of service providers in the community to succeed, Sobering centers engage people ‘where they are at’. Sobering centers offer a place where people can find safety and connection to services that speak to their specific social and cultural needs, including housing.”

C. LeeAnne Deegan, Community Advisory Board on Homelessness Chair; Instructor, University of Manitoba Northern Social Work Program


“Managed alcohol programs are a harm reduction approach for people living with severe alcohol dependence. The benefits can include decreasing the beverage alcohol consumed per day, increased quality of life, reduced alcohol-related harm, fewer police interactions, and fewer visits to hospital emergency departments, all which can reduce costs related to alcohol borne by public services.”

Paulette Simkins, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Thompson

Managed Alcohol Programs take a harm-reduction approach to addressing alcoholism. Where some individuals show exceptional difficulty maintaining abstinence and detoxing, a managed alcohol program can help these individuals focus on developing social function while receiving a controlled amount of alcohol during their treatment, somewhat similar to the controlled recovery from prescription medication. In the meantime, the harm associated from alcohol use is reduced through supervision and counselling. This allows an individual to address the stressors in their life and environment.

Managed alcohol is still a controversial approach, and much research still needs to be done. It is also not for everyone, and existing programs typically restrict its use to the most severe cases of alcohol dependency, with very specific eligibility requirements.

A managed alcohol program is not a guaranteed part of the Main Street North project, and requires more extensive community consultation to ensure such a program will work within our community. However, partners in Main Street North project are investigating all potential avenues for addressing alcoholism in Thompson and northern Manitoba.

Week 2 of Clean Community Month Starts Today!

It’s the second week of Clean Community Month in Thompson, and this week, we’re in the Juniper and Deerwood areas!

Send us your photos and the names of your clean-up team for a chance to win a Hub of the North Hoodie, a prize pack from Recycle Everywhere and the Thompson Recycling Center, and this week’s big prize from Canadian Tire: A Pelican Flow 94 Stand-up Paddle Board, just in time for the lakes opening up! Just be careful: the water is still pretty cold.

Thank you to EVERYONE who participated in Week 1! You guys are awesome! Individuals can’t win the draw a second time, but if you go out to clean up again, other members of your team definitely can!

If you need a place to start, our Comms Officer was out by Rotary Park in Deerwood this morning, and it’s looking a little hairy!

We’re cleaning in Deerwood and Juniper this week!

Thanks to all of our volunteers last week!

Thanks to everyone who helped clean up our City last week, and everyone who plans to come out in the coming month!

New Garbage and Recycling trucks are on the road in Thompson!

It’s been a rough week for garbage and recycling pick-up, giving our old collection trucks a rather bitter send-off.

That said, things should look a little smoother now that our new garbage and recycling collection trucks have arrived at the Public Works yard, and are officially on the road!

Not only are they new vehicles that should operate more smoothly, but they also come with some new automated safeguards that make their operation safer and more reliable!

Clean Community: Students Clean Up Causeways

For the last two years, friends of the late Dylan and Shane Cripps have gone out on the spring to clean up the boat launch at the Causeways north of Thompson, out of respect for the families who passed away and their community.

The causeways are a gorgeous waterway for paddlers and motor boats alike, and while it’s extremely disappointing to see their condition every spring, we’re proud to see a new generation of Thompsonites volunteering to keep their community and it’s landmarks clean.

We hope to see everyone out this week helping our community look it’s best for the summer! Don’t forget to take part in the City of Thompson’s Clean Community Month! Give back to the community while winning prizes!

Community Clean-up Month Starts May 22!

Every spring, the City of Thompson has hosted Clean Community Day and Clean Community Month, an opportunity for community members to come out, clean up Thompson, and help us get a jump start on the litter left over from the winter. This year, in the spirit of social distancing, things are a little different.

Starting on Friday, May 22, we’ll be asking residents to focus on two areas of town every week until June 26, based on the schedule close to the end of this article. We’ll give people a heads-up to some key areas to get started.

Here’s what our schedule looks like:

Week 1: Downtown (Bin placed in Canadian Tire Parking Lot)
Week 2: Deerwood – Juniper (Bins placed at respective schools)
Week 3: Eastwood and Riverside (Bins placed at respective schools)
Week 4: Westwood and Burntwood (Bins placed at respective schools)
Week 5: Southwood and Apartments (Bins placed at Southwood Park)

Like every year, garbage bags and rubber gloves are available free from City Hall and the Public Works Office! Pick up gloves and bags in the City Hall foyer starting on Friday, or call Public Works at 204-677-7970 to arrange pick-up from their office. If you’re picking up supplies from City Hall, we ask that you be respectful and take only what you need.

We’re working with a local business to act as a weekend pick-up location for gloves and bags if you can’t make it during the week. Stay tuned for more information!

The City and the School District of Mystery Lake will be putting out dumpsters every Monday at the locations listed below. If you need to get rid of garbage you’ve collected on other days, a dumpster will be available at the Public Works yard all week long!

Send In Your Photos, Win Prizes!

To participate, we’re asking everyone to take a photo of the area you’re cleaning before you clean up, and a photo or two of the clean area when you’re done. Email them with the names of you and your team to, and we’ll be feature your before and after photos on our social media page throughout the week!

At the end of every week, participants who submitted their names and photos will have a chance to win a Hub of the North hoodie and camping mug set!

At the end of the month, all participants who sent in photos will be eligible for the grand prize draw donated by Canadian Tire, a cooler packed with everything you need for you and your family to get out and enjoy a picnic on the grass!

Cleaning up while CoVID-safe

Remember: we are in the midst of a pandemic, and cleaning up involves touching many strange surfaces. Here’s a few ways to help keep yourself safe from COVID-19 while helping to clean our community:

  1. Wear gloves;
  2. Use hand sanitizer frequently, even on your gloves;
  3. Don’t touch your face until you’ve taken your gloves off, or sterilized them;
  4. Remove your gloves and sanitize your hands before getting in your vehicle, or touching another surface;
  5. Use a garbage picker if you have one (you know, those sticks with the pointy ends);
  6. Disperse your group at least 2 meters apart;
  7. Don’t crowd people at the dumpsters, or when picking up your gloves and garbage bags.

Thompson has already started Cleaning up!

Workers from Recreation and Public Works have been going around town picking up litter downtown and in other big problem areas in our community.

Community members have also been out cleaning up our community, like Crystal Fenner-Redhead has been out with her family picking up garbage in the Eastwood area and throughout the downtown area, using garbage bags and gloves supplied by the Thompson Recycling Center! They’ve already collected over 100 bags, and they’re still out and about: Thanks Crystal!

Mayor Smook dropped off some snacks for Fenner-Redhead and the family while they were out and about! Photo courtesy Crystal Fenner-Readhead
Fenner-Redhead’s family has often been out well until dark, and has picked up over 100 bags of litter. She’s raising some great, community-minded kids! Photo courtesy Crystal Fenner-Redhead

Request for Indoor Pool Design Proposals Released

The City of Thompson has officially posted the RFP to design a new indoor swimming facility that will replace the Norplex Pool, following the recommendation of KGS Group that a new facility be constructed.

Firms submitting design proposals will be asked to submit a scale-able design based on key features based on accessibility standards and the Pool survey circulated during the summer of 2019. If all of these features prove more expensive than KGS’s initial estimate, or if fundraising falls short, these features will be scaled back to more basic features. These features include, in no particular order:

  • Lane Tank/Deep End (separate from the Leisure Pool)
  • Leisure Pool/Shallow End
  • Beach Entry (for individuals with physical disabilities)
  • Water Slide
  • Hot Tub
  • Sauna
  • Steam Room
  • Birthday Party Room
  • Stand-alone Splash Pad

The RFP closes on June 12, 2020, after which applicants will be reviewed and selected.

Although COVID-19 has put a damper on a lot of the Community Pool Committee’s fundraising plans, we’re still moving forward with design planning, and continuing to look into grants to help collect the funds required for a new pool.

Brenda Babiuk donated $5000 to the Community Pool Committee during Winterfest 2020.
The Community Pool Committee Received it’s first major private donation from Brenda Babiuk during Winterfest 2020. Babiuk donated $5000 towards the construction of the new pool.

Want to see what other residents said about their desired features?Download the original pool survey results below!

Recreation at Home: Treasure Hunt!

It’s Wednesday, and our friends at Recreation have a new challenge for you: an old-fashioned treasure hunt for the kids!
The Spruce has a great write-up with tips, ready-made clues and ideas, and even an

It’s Wednesday, and our friends at Recreation have a new challenge for you: an old-fashioned treasure hunt for the kids!

The Spruce has a great write-up on how to put one together, including tips, pre-made hints, and an adaptation for the great indoors!

Follow our Facebook page Thompson Rec at Home, and send us your photos of your trinkets, treasures, and treasure maps! What will YOU include?

Outdoor Treasure Hunt for Kids –

Indoor Treasure Hunt for Kids –

YWCA Houses First Round of Homeless Residents During Pandemic

Edit: 25 residents are being housed in the dormitories, rather than 21 as previously reported.

With support of the City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and Thompson’s Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, 25 regular users of the Thompson Homeless Shelter (THS) have been relocated to the YWCA’s dormitories to aid with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic as of this morning. The individuals were selected based on their elevated risk, including factors like age, medical conditions, and more.

The YWCA has designated an area of the facility specifically for shelter users, and they have been screened for temperature and recent history on arrival. The YWCA is providing food, and those staying at the facility encouraged to remain near the building for the duration of the Province’s current Public Health Orders. The facility is staffed with additional security 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants are permitted on site.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak has also donated hygiene hampers for the homeless residents being housed at the YWCA, including supplies like soap, shampoo, and a change of clothes.

The YWCA housing is being funded entirely through the $2.2 billion federal Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. As part of the strategy, the federal government announced in May 2019 that it would be providing Thompson with $1.74 million in funding over 5 years (2019-2024) to support homelessness initiatives like the Thompson Homeless Shelter. This year, the City received an additional $200, 000 to support COVID-19 safety among Thompson’s homeless residents.

The Work Isn’t Over

52 individuals are still relying on the existing Thompson Homeless Shelter for a place to sleep every night, not including individuals who have homes in outlying communities but are stranded in Thompson.

After investigating the Polaris #6 building, which has been disused for 2 years, inspectors determined that the building would need more extensive repairs than previously expected before it would be suitable as emergency housing.

the Polaris #6 building was initially investigated as an emergency shelter, but would require more upgrades than expected to meet basic requirements.

The City of Thompson, the Thompson Homeless Shelter, and the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, are still investigating other possible options for pandemic-safe housing. Both the Keewatin Tribal Council and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak have also applied for additional COVID-19 specific funding to support projects for vulnerable people in the north.

In the meantime, the RCMP’s Community Relations Unit and the City of Thompson’s CSOs continue to patrol Thompson’s downtown to help make Thompson’s homeless and at-risk residents more aware of COVID-19 and the risks it presents to their community.

RCMP Community Relations Officers + City of Thompson Community Safety Officers