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The Thompson Local News

Two Local Schools Focus On Green Initiatives


Two schools here in Thompson are making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. 

 

Both Burntwood and Westwood schools are taking different steps this year to promote the planet. 

 

Burntwood school has said that they are teaching by example from the top down, with educators and administration making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of paper used. 

 

Principal Wanda Einarson says that while they’re going digital as much as possible when it comes to things like newsletter and parent correspondence, they recognize that not everyone has internet access and that paper copies are available upon request. 

 

The staff at Westwood have decided to rework the curriculum to bring more awareness to water sustainability both locally, nationally and around the world. 

 

Principal Donna Johnston said that all classes throughout the year will focus on a question about water, including what it’s like for places that don’t have access to clean water. 

 

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Red Cross Provides Tips To Help Prevent And End Bullying


With school now back into full swing, it’s time to continue the conversation about bullying. 

 

Rebecca Ulrich, the provincial respect education manager fo the Canadian Red Cross in Manitoba, spoke to Arctic Radio News to explain why now is the time to talk about Bullying. She said that at the core, bullying is a relationship issue, and that the renewal of relationships at the start of a new school year makes it the perfect time.  

 

Ulrich also said that parents should not try to stop cyber bullying by taking away their children’s screens, as that device could also serve as their support system. She added that taking away the devices might also make children lose faith in their parents, and not tell them about future bullying situations. 

 

If you’d like to hear more from Ulrich on bullying and tips to prevent it, make sure you listen to Thompson Today on 102.9 CHTM tomorrow and Thursday.  

 

Thompson Today plays every weekday at 12:40pm and 5:10pm. 

 

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Chuck Davidson: Economic Development Key To Northern Economy


The President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce was in attendance at the annual Northern Chambers meeting held in Flin Flon last weekend. 

 

Chuck Davidson told Arctic Radio News that it is important for the Manitoba Chamber to get a sense of what issues Chambers in the north are facing, as well as what the provincial body can do to help. 

He said that there was a lot of discussion on economic development, which Davidson says is a key pillar and challenge here in the north. 

 

The former broadcaster said that the discussions were focused on how to press the Pallister Government so the north remains a priority.  

 

Davidson added that regional meetings are held to make sure that the Manitoba Chamber as a whole remains connected to the local chambers across the province. 

 

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Centralized RCMP Communications Centre, Lack Of 911 Infrastructure Part Of Issues Behind Delayed RCMP Response Times


Last night’s regular meeting of Thompson City Council was dominated by an outcry from those in attendance for a more efficient system of contacting the RCMP in emergency situations.  

 

Three Thompsonites spoke up during general inquires at the start of the meeting. They asked Mayor and Council to explain both what the City is doing to combat recent mischief and violence, and why there isn’t a local 911 service. 

 

One concern brought forward is that when you call the RCMP at 204-677-6911, you’re often put on hold. Mayor Dennis Fenske addressed the issue, saying that it’s not just Thompson that has to deal with the issue. He said that the Provincial Government made the decision years ago to close the RCMP communications centre that was in Thompson and centralize to one centre in Brandon. 

 

Fenske said that all calls made to the RCMP the province on emergency lines are divided into three geographical regions (east, west, north) within the Brandon centre, and that wait times there are based on the volume of calls. 

 

Mayor Fenske said that the current system isn’t acceptable, but is rather the current reality in Manitoba.  

 

Fenske said that the lack of infrastructure for 911 services in the Nor-Man region and the lack of a local communications centre are issues he’s been raising for years, and brought them up when he met with the Justice Department in Winnipeg two weeks ago. 

 

The outgoing mayor said that while he hopes the situation will improve with the recent installation of a new cell tower near Wabowden, the best thing to do is to make sure that those needing assistance stay on the line.  

 

Those thoughts were echoed later by Inspector Kevin Lewis, the officer in charge of the Thompson RCMP detachment. Inspector Lewis said that if you’re on hold and decide to hang up and try again, you automatically go the back of the line on the new call.  

 

With a report from the City’s Public Safety Committee on the agenda, council candidate and former USW 6166 president Les Ellsworth asked if the problem of youth violence and mischief is being talked about in the committees meetings.  

 

Councillor Judy Kolada, who chairs the committee, said that the issue has been discussed at the meetings. Kolada added that they are looking for solutions, and that the public is more than welcome to attend their meetings. 

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Mayor And City Manager Headed To Flin Flon For AMM Cities Caucus Meeting


Thompson has a strong voice at the table tomorrow for a meeting of municipal leaders from around Manitoba. 

 

Mayor Dennis Fenske and City Manager Anthony McInnis will be in Flin Flon for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities fall Cities Caucus meeting, where cannabis is expected to be front and centre. 

 

Mayor Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News, and said that one of the main discussions will be on enforcement and the costs that come with it.  

 

Under the federal marijuana tax law, 25% of all revenue from the tax is set to go to Ottawa, with the rest going to the provinces. There is not current a portion of the tax going to municipalities, who will be footing the bill for enforcement once cannabis becomes legal.  

 

The Cities Caucus is an AMM sub-committee made up of mayors and CAO’s from all cities in Manitoba, including Winnipeg.  

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Annual Defeat Depression Walk/Run Raises Awareness, Over $5300 For Local Mental Health Services


Around 50 people took to the streets Saturday afternoon as part of the annual Defeat Depression Walk/Run. 

 

Those participating raised over $5300, down from the over $6000 raised last year. Organizers say that the awareness the event raises of mental health issues and resources available is just as important to them as the money. 

 

The funds collected are staying within the region to help local mental health services, namely the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba Burntwood region and the Hope North Suicide Prevention Committee. 

 

This years’ walk/run marked six years since the event was started locally by Ron Buchanan. 

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One Dead, One Seriously Injured Following Train Derailment Near Ponton


One person is dead and a second has sustained serious injuries following a train derailment near Ponton. 

 

Three locomotives and 27 rail cars, some carrying liquefied petroleum, went off the tracks Saturday evening when a rail bridge gave out.

 

The Arctic Gateway Group, who is working to repair the Hudson Bay Railway, says that they do not believe that any o the cars carrying petroleum were compromised, and that there does not appear to be any significant environmental damage. 

 

Murad Al-Katib, the president of one of the partner groups that make up Arctic Gateway, said that the group will not compromise speed for safety when traveling the line, and that the groups’ hearts go out to the families of those affected. 

 

Al-Katib will be meeting with municipal officials in both Thompson and The Pas to coordinate a response. 

 

Arctic Gateway has said that they will run an internal investigation into the derailment, which will run in parallel with the investigations of the RCMP and other relevant emergency services. 

 

The Transportation Safety Board says that they are aware of the situation, but have not yet decided if they will conduct their own investigation. 

 

Grief counselling for all employees and their families is being made available by Arctic Gateway. 

 

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Sixth Annual Defeat Depression Run/Walk Set For Tomorrow


Tomorrow marks the sixth annual Defeat Depression Run/Walk here in Thompson.

 

Registration for the event is set to start at 11:00am near the Thompson Clinic (in the Plaza), with the run/walk starting up around noon.  

 

Stephanie Third, from the Mood Disorder Association of Manitoba Burntwood region, spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that it’s not too late to participate. She said that there is a $25.00 registration charge which will get you a swag bag at the start of the race. Third added that you are also able to raise funds on top of that registration fee. 

 

Realizing that the registration fee may present a barrier to some participating, Third said that if you’d like to take part without paying the fee or raising funds, you can simple show up and run/walk with everyone.  

 

All of the money that is raised will be divided between the local Mood Disorder Association of Manitoba region and the Hope North Suicide Prevention Committee. 

 

Organizers say that they are still looking for volunteers to serve as crossing guards for the event. Those interested in volunteering are asked to show up at 11:30 for information and set-up.  

 

If you’d like more information on the event, you can click here. 

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Deadline Tuesday For Those Wanting To Run In Election


 Thompsonites will know Wednesday who is running for Mayor, Council and School Board. 

 

Tuesday September 18th marks the deadline for those who intend to run to have their papers turned in to the Senior Election Official, Dave Turpie.  

 

If you’d like to get papers, or have questions regarding the election, you can get a hold of Turpie by calling 204-679-1000 or sending an email to SEO@thompson.ca. 

 

The election is set for October 24th 

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Thompson City Council To Meet Monday


There is a regular meeting of Thompson City Council Monday. 

 

The agenda is on the lighter side with four reports, one piece of correspondence as well as three resolutions. The full agenda can be found here, or can be picked up from the front desk at City Hall.  

 

The meeting will take place starting at 7:00pm in Council Chambers at City Hall, and everyone is welcome to attend. 

 

This will serve as the third last meeting of the current council before the upcoming election. 

 

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Investigation Underway In Gillam Area Following Historical Criminal Allegations


There is now an investigation underway into allegations of assault and sexual abuse by RCMP members here in the north. 

 

Details of the allegations were made public last month, when a report from the Clean Environment Commission was published on the public outreach and review of the social impact of hydro development.  

 

The Manitoba RCMP has referred the investigation to the Independent Investigation Unit, who will be investigating.  

 

While the IIU will deal with investigating allegations that involve RCMP officers, any historical criminal allegations that involve Manitoba Hydro employees will be investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police. 

 

The OPP will be involved as there were criminal allegations where both Manitoba Hydro employees and RCMP members may have been present.  

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20th Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards Gala Set For Tomorrow Night


A Thompsonite has the chance to take home a provincial award. 

 

The 20th annual Manitoba Tourism Awards gala is set to take place at The Met in Winnipeg tomorrow evening, and local artist Jasyn Lucas is one of the three finalists in the Indigenous Tourism category. 

 

The other two finalists in the category are the Manito Ahbee Festival and Traditional Trails.  

 

Lucas was nominated and named a finalist for his art gallery/ studio/ tattoo parlour, ‘The Gift of Art’, which he opened with his partner Nikki Brightnose three years ago. 

 

The nomination came from Community Futures North Central Development, who say that he is a great ambassador for Northern Manitoba and sets an example for everyone that it is possible to make a living doing what you’re passionate about. 

 

The full list of award finalists can be found here on the Travel Manitoba website.

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Thompson RCMP Respond To Multiple Reports Of Mischief, Provide Tips To Keep Property Safe


The police have had their hands full recently.  

 

Thomson RCMP says that they have responded to several incidents of mischief here in Thompson over the past week, and want to remind everyone to make sure that their property is safe.  

 

Constable Sandy Deibert, from the Thompson RCMP detachment, spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that further steps can be taken. Some suggested steps include keeping valuables out of unlocked vehicles and not leaving your keys inside an unoccupied, unlocked vehicle.  

 

She added that residents should call the RCMP at 204-677-6911 if you find that your vehicle, shed or home was left unlocked and someone may have gained access. 

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Wolf Shot And Killed Along PR 391 North Of Thompson


Manitoba Sustainable Development is asking for information following a wolf being shot and killed. 

 

Sustainable Development says that a family of three black wolves have been a common sight along the stretch of road over the last few months until an adult male wolf was shot. 

 

The animal was shot with what is believed to be a rifle on Provincial Road 391 between Thompson and Nelson House on September 5th between 8:00pm and 9:00pm. 

 

No attempt was made to recover the body of the wolf or to make use of it. 

 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sustainable Development Thompson district office at 204-677-6640 or the Turn In Poachers (TIP) line at 1-800-782-0076.  

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NDP Delay Pallister Government's "Made In Manitoba" Carbon Tax 


The Manitoba NDP have delayed the Province from implementing their carbon tax. 

  

The Pallister Government’s carbon tax was set to be in place as of September 1st. NDP leader Wab Kinew said that the 'Made In Manitoba' plan is a "bad deal", and that it will make life less affordable for Manitobans while not helping the environment. 

 

Kinew told Arctic Radio News that every single dollar collected from any carbon tax should go back out to help Manitobans reduce their carbon footprint, something he says the current plan doesn’t do.  

 

Kinew said that the Pallister plan does not do that, but what he and the rest of his party would put in place does. The Fort Rouge MLA added that in the city they would invest the money in transit, infrastructure and more efficient vehicles. 

 

When it comes to the north, Kinew said that programs to buy more efficient vehicles, furnaces or to help people reduce their environmental impact in other ways. He added that infrastructure will also help reduce the carbon footprint of Manitoba, as cars are more effect when they are driving on a smooth road.  

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City Council Removes Meeting From Schedule 


Despite being included on the original schedule, there will not be a regular meeting of Thompson City Council on October 29th. 

 

The meeting was removed from council’s calendar at the last regular meeting of council, as it falls between the municipal election and November 7th, when the new Mayor and Council will have their inaugural meeting. 

 

Thompson City Council meets regularly at City Hall every other Monday at 7:00pm. 

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School Board To Resume Meetings Tonight 


The first school board meeting of the 2018-2019 school year is set to take place tonight. 

 

The agenda includes the second and third readings of a procedural by-law, as well as reports from board committees such as policy and public relations. 

 

The meeting will take place starting at 7:00pm in the school board office. 

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Manitoba Liberal Party Calls For Inquiry Into Death Of Man In Thompson 10 Years Ago 


The Manitoba Liberal Party is calling for a public inquiry into the death of a man who died ten years ago as the result of exposure to poisonous gas here Thompson. 

 

David Fifi was working at Comstock Canada as a boilermaker here in Thompson, where he suffered multiple accidental exposures to poisonous gases that lead to his death. 

 

His death was originally determined to have been caused by a heart attack, which Doctor Peter Markestyn says is not the case following a review of the evidence. 

 

Liberal leader Dougald Lamont says that the government has an obligation to ensure that people work in safety and get home alive, and added that the Fifi family and others deserve more than answers 

 

He said that an inquiry is needed to understand why the previous NDP government, and others, "ignored and abandoned David and his co-workers". 

 

A release from the Liberal Party says that there is evidence to suggest that there may have been other incidents and many other workers affected.  

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NRHA Diabetes Exercise Class Resumes Tonight 


The Northern Health Region’s diabetes exercise class will resume this evening at the TRCC. 

 

The classes will run Monday evenings starting at 6:30pm. The last day of the program is scheduled to be May 27th, though it is not expected to run on weeks where the Monday falls on a stat holiday. 

 

Exercise is crucial to those with diabetes, with health professionals saying that it can be as powerful as some medications without the side-effects. 

 

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Vigil Of Hope Set For Tonight 


The Hope North Suicide Prevention Committee will be holding an event this evening in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day. 

 

The event will run from 6:00pm until 8:00pm. It was originally scheduled to take place outside City Hall, but was moved to the TRCC gym due to rain.  

 

The event will include refreshments and an open mic for anyone wanting to do a song or read a poem. 

 

If you’d like more information, you can contact Terri at 204-939-0717. 

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Crews Respond To Emergency Landing At Thompson Airport 


Thompson Fire and EMS responded to an emergency landing  over the weekend at the airport. 

 

Crews were called to the scene early Sunday morning after a small plane declared an emergency. 

 

The King Air E90 landed but broke a landing gear in the process causing significant damage to the plane, including the rupturing of its fuel system. 

 

Firefighters were on scene to ensure everyone left the aircraft safely, and used extinguishing agents to suppress fuel vapours. 

 

No one was injured, and the airport was able to resume normal operations within a few hours. 

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Second Pot Shop Planned For Thompson 


Plans are in the works for a second marijuana store here in Thompson. 

 

Delta Nine Cannabis announced that they plan to open a retail location here in the north, and now Garden Variety is following suit. 

 

Garden Variety is a consortium which includes Avana Canada, MediPharm Labs and Fisher River Cree Nation. 

 

The company plans on opening three retail stores outside of the announced Thompson location, including two in Winnipeg. 

 

While no specific date has been set, they say that the location here in Thompson should be open before the end of March. 

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Electoral Boundaries Commission To Hold Hearing In Thompson 


Manitoba’s Electoral Divisions Board is encouraging everyone to attend special hearings that will cover proposed electoral division boundaries and names.? 

 

The commission has proposed changes to the 57 electoral divisions, as well as sixteen new names. 

 

One of these public hearings will be held here in Thompson tomorrow evening?at the Best Western, starting at 5:00pm. 

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Keeyask Currently Ahead Of Schedule, Though Over-Budget


The Keeyask generating station may be put into service sooner than expected 

According to Dave Brown, the project manager, speedier-than-expected winter progress has lead to the possibility of having the first unit put into service by the fall of 2020, almost a year ahead of the original schedule. 

 

Despite the anticipated early completion, Brown said that they need a further 10% improvement and no major risks if they want to keep control of the budget. 

 

Brown added that shortening the construction period will reduce costs, which are currently estimated at a total of just under $9 billion. 

 

Manitoba Hydro says that they have identified more than 100 ideas to save more than half a billion dollars.  

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Thompson Community Choir To Start 2018/2019 Season This Weekend


This weekend marks the start of another season for the Thompson Community Choir. 

 

The group is always looking for new members, and they encourage anyone who loves to sing and has interest in the group to send them a message on facebook and come out on Sunday. 

 

The first rehearsal will take place Sunday at 2:00pm, at Riverview restaurant.  

 

The group can be reached on Facebook by clicking here. 

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Break-In At Humane Society


There has been a break-in at the Thompson Humane Society.

 

Upon arrival this morning, humane society volunteers discovered that the building had been broken into, and that the perpetrators have released all of the animals sheltered at the facility.

 

The RCMP has been notified and will be investigating the break-in.

 

The City’s Animal Control Officer is currently attempting to recover the animals released from the Society, and everyone is asked to contact him by phone at 204-677-7910 if they spot stray animals in the community.

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Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Holding Inauguration And Gratitude Ceremony Tomorrow


It will be an afternoon of celebration in Nelson House tomorrow. 

 

NCN is holding a Gratitude and Inauguration Ceremony, where the community is set to both honour past council members for their service while swearing in the freshly elected Chief and Council.  

 

The afternoon is set to start around 1:00pm with a pipe ceremony, followed by singers, drummers and a blessing. The celebration is scheduled to end at 6:00pm, following a headdress ceremony and a round dance. 

 

The planned five-hour event is also set to include a traditional community feast and giveaways. 

 

Everything is set to take place at the Gilbert McDonald Arena.  

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Norplex Pool Closed For Maintenance


The Norplex Pool is closed until later this month as it undergoes repairs and upgrades. 

 

Mayor Dennis Fenske spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that this is the annual shutdown for the pool, and that there are a couple of projects to complete that wasn’t done prior to the Manitoba Games earlier this year. 

 

Fenske said that they going to be working on the change rooms and power requirements for running the pool. 

 

The shutdown started over the weekend, and is expected to last until September 24th. 

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Report: Manitoba 3rd Highest Rate Of Children In Low-Income Housing


A new report says that preventable accidents and injuries are among the leading causes of childhood deaths here in Canada. 

 

The report was released by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, and shows that British Columbia has the lowest infant mortality rate in the country at 3.5 per 1000 children born, while Manitoba comes in it at 5.4 per 1000. 

 

The statistics also show that 1.2 million children across the country live in low-income housing, with only two provinces having more children in low-income dwellings outside of Manitoba. 

 

The report is also being used as a call to action for all levels of government, as well as all Canadian to do more and invest more in future generations. 

 

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Split Lake Man Faces Manslaughter Charge


A man has been charged following Thompson’s second homicide of 2018. 

 

24-year-old Bryan Roulette, from Split Lake, was arrested over the weekend in relation to the death of a 22-year-old, also from Split Lake.  

 

Roulette was originally charged with assault causing bodily harm, though the RCMP later said that that charge has been upgraded to manslaughter. 

 

Police say that the victim and Roulette were known to each other, and that Roulette is scheduled to appear in Thompson Provincial Court today. 

 

The victim was found not breathing and with visible signs of trauma Thursday morning near the downtown area. 

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Hudson Bay Railway Sold


It’s finally over. 

 

Following over a year and a half of back and forth, the Town of Churchill has announced that the Hudson Bay Rail Line, Port of Churchill and Churchill Marine Tank Farm are no longer owned by OmniTrax. 

 

Michael Spence, the Mayor of Churchill, confirmed that the assists are now owned by a consortium of northern communities, along with Fairfax and AGT. 

 

The Federal Government, who Spence lauded as crucial in a deal being reached, have said that repairs will begin immediately with a goal to have them completed by winter. 

 

The company who is tasked with repairing the line, Edmonton-based Paradox Access Solutions, says that repairs will start on Saturday and should take around 60 days to complete.

 

Ottawa also said that they are extremely happy that the deal includes local First Nations ownership.  

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Opposition Says Government Line Of Tourism Isn't Enough


The Manitoba NDP says that the Pallister Government is not doing enough for the north. 

 

NDP leader Wab Kinew spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that action should be taken to help with the current situation, rather than focusing on the Look North initiative and the Manitoba-First Nations Mineral Development Protocol. 

 

Kinew said that even though there is a need for improving the relationship between First Nations communities and the mining industry, things like development protocols will lead to jobs years from now, and don’t do anything for the present.  

 

The Fort Rouge MLA said that the Province wants those who lose jobs in the mining industry to transition into the tourism industry, and that those jobs won’t provide the same standard of living the workers are used to. 

 

Kinew said that the NDP is proposing to work with community leaders and labor to keep job sites in the north open, while working to provide training with those who have taken voluntary buy-outs or those who have had suffice to notice of job loss. He added that by giving people an opportunity to keep their skills up to date, they will be more likely to get a good job in a different sector.  

 

The Manitoba NDP say that they will continue to push for more investment in bringing new industries to the north. 

 

 

Photo courtesy of The National Post.

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City "Takes Issue" With CFIB Report On Municipal Spending


According to the City of Thompson, the recently released bird’s eye view of municipal spending from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business misses realities here on the ground. 

 

The report is based on statistics from 2008 through 2015, during which time Mayor Dennis Fenske said that the City took on more workers as they opened up the TRCC, introduced the CSO program and took over responsibility for the waste disposal grounds. 

 

Mayor Fenske also said that the report also ignores the revenue that comes from the waste disposal grounds, which he said offset any increase in associated labour costs.  

 

He added that all municipalities in Manitoba should take issue with the report as it talks about suggesting that the Province should freeze all funding to municipalities at the current rates, something that Fenske says would be catastrophic.  

 

The report was released by the CFIB last week with the information divided into three categories; the City of Winnipeg, Cities and Towns, and Rural Municipalities.  

 

The release from the City of Thompson in response to the report can be found here, and an overview of the report can be found here. 

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City Council To Meet Tonight


If the agenda is any indication, tonight’s regular meeting of Thompson City Council could be both short and without drama. 

 

There are only five resolutions on the agenda including one that if passed, will allocate money so that a new water heater can be purchased for the Thompson Regional Community Centre. 

 

According to a memo from the director of recreation, Carol Taylor, the TRCC has two hot water tanks that are leaking and unusable. The memo says that both are currently shut off, and that the tanks feed water to the dressing rooms as well as other areas of the building. Taylor said that the original plan was to replace both, but that they now plan on removing both tanks before installing one new one and upgrading ventilation. She added that they hope to install a second new tank in 2019.  

 

The agenda also includes a letter from Jeff Wharton, the Provincial Minister of Municipal Relations, as well as a resolution to approve Councillor Byer’s attendance at the upcoming Association of Manitoba Municipalities Cities Caucus meeting.  

 

The letter from Wharton has to do with available funding under the 2018 Municipal Road and Bridges Program. It was announced last month that Thompson would be receiving $200k, though the letter indicates that that amount is simply the maximum that the Province will contribute should it be needed. 

 

The AMM Cities Caucus meeting is set to take place September 19th in Flin Flon, where if approved, Councillor Byer will join Mayor Dennis Fenske and the director of development services, Anthony McInnis. There is not expected to be any cost for the City should the resolution be approved as Councillor Byer is currently a member of the AMM board, which means any costs are covered by AMM. The attendance of Mayor Fenske and McInnis was approved at the last regular meeting council on August 13th.  

 

The meeting is scheduled to start following a meeting of the Thompson Planning District, where the only agenda item is a resolution to approve a permit for a dog kennel just south of city limits.  

 

Both meetings will take place in council chambers at City Hall, and the public encouraged to attend. 

 

You can take a look at the full agenda for the regular meeting of City Council by clicking here. 

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Fire In Burntwood Trailer Court


There is currently a fire burning in the Burntwood Trailer Court.

 

Thompson Fire and Emergency Services are on scene battling the blaze. The area should be avoided at this time.

 

More information will be passed along once it is made available.

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RCMP, MPI Remind Drivers To Stay Safe During Long Weekend


Tomorrow marks the start of the final long weekend of summer.

 

Constable Sandy Deibert, from the Thompson RCMP detachment, spoke to Arctic Radio News with a reminder not to drink and drive. She said that impaired driving remains the leading criminal cause of death in Canada, and that it’s something that is preventable. Deibert asked everyone not drive while impaired or distracted, and that those on the roads need to make sure that it’s a safe weekend for everyone.

 

Manitoba Public Insurance added to Constable Deiberts’ reminder, telling everyone to buckle up no matter where you are sitting in a vehicle or how long the trip is. Statistics show that people who don’t wear seatbelts are 26 times more likely to be killed and two times more likely to be seriously injured in a collision over people who do wear them. 

 

MPI added that speeding is also a danger, as speeding at-fault drivers are responsible for more than 700 injuries per year, in addition to 19 deaths.

 

On average more than 800 collisions are reported to MPI annually over the Labour Day weekend.

 

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Thompson Chamber Calls On Ottawa To Repair Churchill Line


The Thompson Chamber of Commerce is going right to the top to join the chorus of voices pleading for repairs to commence on the washed-out rail line to Churchill.  

 

The Chamber recently announced that they have passed a resolution to urge the Trudeau Government to “repair the rail line immediately for it to be operational to salvage the 2018 polar bear tourism season that is essential for the town of Churchill” and that they “further resolve (to press) the Government of Manitoba (to) lobby and work with all parties to have all this accomplished immediately for the benefit of all Manitobans”.  

 

The release says that the lack of train service between Gillam and Churchill is a detriment to the north, with the town of Churchill being affected the most. They added that the lack of rail service to Canada’s only deep-water sea port in the Arctic for 18 months or more is unacceptable.  

 

The Provincial Government remains on the sidelines, with Premier Brian Pallister and multiple cabinet ministers maintaining that ports and rail issues are a federal responsibility.  

 

OmniTrax recently said that a deal to sell all their assists in Manitoba is “imminent”.  

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School Zone Speed Limits In Effect As Of Saturday


With the first official day of the new school year set for Wednesday, the school zone speed limits will come back in effect on Saturday. 

 

The reduced speed zones, which make the maximum 30km/h instead of the normal 50km/h, are present in front of all elementary schools within the City. There is however no reduced speed limit in front of R.D. Parker Collegiate.  

 

The reduced speed limits are only in effect from 8:00am until 5:00pm on weekdays during the school year. 

 

If caught going 50km/h in a school zone, you could face a ticket of over $300.

 

Motorists are also reminded to use extra caution both in and around crosswalks and drop-off zones, as come next week they will once again be busy. 

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OmniTrax Claims Sale Is "Imminent"


The owner of the rail line connecting Churchill to the rest of the province says that a deal to sell the damaged line is imminent. 

 

The announcement was made earlier this week, when lawyers representing the Denver-based corporation said that negotiations are at the point where “both sides’ present expectation is that the share purchase will be completed shortly”.  

 

OmniTrax did not say who the potential new owner is, and it is the next in an ever-growing list of deals for the property that have been announced.  

 

The potential deal would include all of Hudson Bay Railway’s assets in Manitoba, which includes a rail yard in The Pas in addition to the rail line, fuel tank farm and port in Churchill. 

 

OmniTrax, the parent company of HBR, says that it would cost between $40M-$60M to get the rail line in operating condition. Amid growing pressure from the Manitoba NDP, the corporation says they cannot afford the repairs.  

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Investigation Underway Across From Thompson RCMP Detachment


The RCMP’s Major Crime Unit North has been called in to investigate following an incident overnight in Thompson. 

 

Police have taped off an area on Cree Road near Public Lane, where what looks like a tarp-covered body was seen earlier this morning. 

 

Constable Sandy Deibert, from the Thompson RCMP detachment, says that they are asking for the public to be patient and to stay away from the area during the investigation. 

 

Information will be passed along once it is received by Arctic Radio News. 

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City To Host Pre-Election Candidate Information Session


There is an information event scheduled tomorrow night for those who want to run for office in the upcoming municipal election. 

 

The City of Thompson is hosting a pre-election orientation with the goal of informing candidates, and those thinking of becoming one, of what to expect during and after the election process. 

 

The session is set to cover topics including registration and withdrawal deadlines and conflicts of interest. The night will also cover eligibility criteria and restrictions as well as the roles and responsibilities of elected officials.  

 

The information that will be covered is for those interested in running for mayor, council or school board. 

 

The orientation is set to take place in the Letkemann Theatre at R.D. Parker Collegiate, starting at 7:00pm. 

 

If you’d like more information you should call Dave Turpin, the senior election official for the City, at 204-677-1000 or email seo@thompson.ca.   

 

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Busy Month For YWCA Steps To Success Program


September is set to be another busy month for the Steps to Success program at the YWCA here in Thompson. 

 

The first classes of the month will look to teach modern technology, with social media on September 4th and cell phones on September 6th. 

 

Below is a list of the classes being offered this month: 

 

  •  Social Media (September 4th, 9:00am-12:00pm) 
  •  Cell Phones (September 6th, 9:00am-12:00pm) 
  •  Keyboarding (Fridays, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
  •  Basic Computer (September 11th-14th, 9:00am-2:00pm) 
  •  GED Essay Writing (September 17th, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
  •  PowerPoint (September 18th, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
  •  Resumes, Cover Letters and Interview Skills (September 19th, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
  •  Essential Skills for Employment/EWIN (September 24th-November 23rd, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
  •  Learning Lunches (12:10pm-12:50pm) 
    • Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays - Job Search Skills 
    • Tuesdays & Thursdays - Conversational English 
  •  Workplace Wednesdays  
    • Adapting to change (September 5th, 9:00am-3:00pm) 
    • Problem Solving (September 12th, 1:00pm-3:00pm) 
    • Time Management (September 26th, 9:00am-12:00pm) 

 

The Steps to Success program, which is run by Cat Cogle, offers adult literacy and workplace essential skills training as well as GED tutoring and upgrading every month, in addition to the classes completely free of charge. 

 

If you’d like to attend a class, or would like more information, you are asked to call 204-677-5016 or email essentialskillywca@mts.net 

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City Announces New Director Of Recreation


The City of Thompson didn’t waste any time in hiring a new director of recreation, parks and culture.  

 

Carol Taylor was officially announced as the new director in a press release from the City earlier today, a role that she had been filling temporarily throughout the summer. 

 

Taylor has been a City employee since 2006, starting as the assistant treasurer, before becoming the CFO a year later and then a project specialist in 2011.  

 

According to the release, her first priority will be to review the City’s recreational facilities, and to develop a path forward that will both ensure long-term financial sustainability while maximizing services offered.  

 

Mayor Dennis Fenske said that Taylor has been an invaluable member of the municipal team for over a decade, and that he is excited to see her returning t of director’s role.   

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CFIB Says Thompson, Other Northern Municipalities Spending Beyond Sustainable Levels


Accord to a small business advocate, municipal overspending in Manitoba is a $1B problem.

 

The fourth edition of the Manitoba Municipal Spending Watch report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that overspending works out to $4,696 per family of four in the province. 

 

Jonathan Alward, the CFIB’s director of Manitoba affairs, spoke to Arctic Radio News to talk about what the report says about Thompson. He said that during the eight-year period that the report is based on (2008-2015), the City of Thompson increased operational spending by 15%, while the population increased by 2%. He added that during the same time, municipal labour costs increased 29%.  

 

Alward added that The Pas and Flin Flon are in the same boat when it comes to overspending, though he said that Flin Flon has started to trim their budget. Of the 10 cities and towns listed in the report, Thompson, The Pas and Flin Flon are ranked 7, 9 and 10 respectively.

 

The City of Winnipeg was listed in its own category due to the difference in size to other municipalities in the province. Alward said that if it had been included, it would be “somewhere near the middle” of the pack.  

 

Alward will join 102.9 CHTM next Wednesday, on September 5th, to talk about the report during Thompson Today at 12:40pm and then again at 5:10pm.  

 

The full report can be viewed here.  

 

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Lindsey To Continue Fight For The North In October


An NDP MLA here in northern Manitoba says that when the Legislature resumes sitting, he’s going to keep pressing the Pallister Government on labour and the north as a whole.

 

Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey, who serves as the Manitoba NDP’s labour critic, spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that it’s time for the Pallister Government to look at what’s happening with jobs in the region. 

 

Lindsey suggested that the governing PC’s should look at how the Mining Community Reserve Fund could be used to create mining jobs, and that having the rail line to Churchill closed hasn’t helped at all. He also said that exploration needs to take place, and that consultation is in place with First Nations communities to allow the north as a whole to grow together. 

 

Lindsey added that the current administration has made it harder for a working person to get ahead by freezing the minimum wage and making harder to join a union. 

 

The Manitoba Legislature is set to resume their sitting on October 3rd. 

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City Partners With U Of M For Aging Workshops


The City of Thompson will play host to two University of Manitoba workshops on the topic of aging on September 26th. 

 

The first workshop, called “Reframing our views on aging”, will take place in the T.R.C.C. multipurpose room from 9:30am until 12:00pm. The focus of this session will be being providing sound information and practical solutions for how to communicate effectively about aging-related issues. The workshop is aimed at anyone who communicates about aging, including staff and board members of organizations related to older people, teachers, students and researchers.     

 

The second workshop, which will take place from 1:00pm until 3:00pm, focuses on healthy aging. This workshop is intended for older adults, researchers and decision makers to learn more about the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy and Action Plan on Aging and Health.  

 

Both workshops are being offered free of charge, but pre-registration is required. If you’d like to register, you can find the required information for “Reframing our views on aging” here, and information for the healthy aging workshop here

 

Registration for both workshops will close on September 19th, one week before the Thompson sessions are scheduled to take place. 

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Northern Manitoba Walleye Challenge Set For This Weekend


The annual Northern Manitoba Walleye Challenge is taking place this weekend at Paint Lake.

 

Eric Labaupa, from event sponsor Kickerfish, spoke to Arctic Radio News about what the competition will look like for those participating.

 

He said that it is a catch and release tournament, where competitors will turn in their best six fish in the size limit. The fish will be weighed before they are released back into the lake.

 

Labaupa added that there will be prizes for everyone who finishes in the top ten. The top prize this year is a boat, motor and trailer valued at $10,000.

 

The entry fee is $300 per team.

 

More information on the weekend can be found by visiting the Northern Manitoba Walleye Championship Facebook page, or at the Kickerfish website

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Healthy Diet Helps With Mental Health


Taking your vitamins could help you with your mental health.

 

Katherine Rushton, from the CMHA here in Thompson, spoke to Arctic Radio News to talk about the importance of just a few of the member of the vitamin B family when it comes to the brain.

 

She said that vitamin B1 help turn glucose into fuel for the brain, and that without it your brain will rapidly run out of energy. A vitamin B3 deficiency results in increased agitation and anxiety, while low B5 levels lead to fatigue and depression.

 

Rushton said that when it comes to the food you eat, high sugar meals should be avoided, as they result in what she calls a vicious cycle of mood swings. She said that foods like eggs help boost serotonin levels, which is known to help reduce depression and regulate anxiety.

 

While healthy nutrition and vitamins are important, Rushton said that those who are dealing with a mental health issue should not see it as an alternative to professional help. She added that a property diet is more of a supplement to go along with sharing, seeking proper help, and taking prescribed medications.

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Wharton: Road Work Funding Dependant On Actual Cost, Annonuced Numbers Just Maximum Contribution


It looks like there is a slight chance that the City might get even less help from the Pallister Government when it comes to road work this year.

 

A recent letter from Jeff Wharton, the Minister of Municipal Relations, says that the announced $200K is just the ceiling for funding that Thompson is eligible for. The actual amount provided, according to the Minister, is dependent on the actual costs incurred by the City.

 

The letter, dated August 15th, says that the deadline for completing the approved road projects and submitting all funding claims to the Province is March 1st, 2019.

 

Earlier this month, multiple members of City Council voiced their displeasure for the then-recently announced $200K, half of what the City says they were assured by Wharton’s office they would be getting.

 

Photo courtesy of Pembina Valley Online

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RCMP Asked To Investigate Allegations Of Sexual Abuse, Racism


The Province has asked the RCMP to investigate Manitoba Hydro over allegations of sexual abuse and racism here in the north.

 

The allegations come from a report which studied the social impact of hydro development, both past and present, on communities.

 

The Clean Environment Commission, who published the report, is described as an arms-length provincial agency.

 

Members of the Commission met with members of Fox Lake Cree Nation earlier this year and heard testimony that described what it was like when hydro workers came to town starting in the 1960's.

 

Those who testified spoke of racism, marginalization and sexual assaults with one person saying that they weren’t included as humans in their own community.

 

Another person told the Commission that his late wife came home from a residential school to a Hydro project which was just as bad.

 

Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires says that the Pallister Government takes the matter seriously, and will be referring the report to the RCMP for investigation.

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No Plan From City To Remove Graffiti


Local businesses appear to be on their own this year when it comes to the removal of graffiti.

 

The Canadian Mental Health Association usually runs a graffiti cover-up program during the summer months offering their services free of charge, but were unable to this year.

 

Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook spoke to Arctic Radio News, and said that she thinks the City should look into developing their own cover-up program in the, at least temporarily, absence of the CMHA-run program.

 

Smook added that the cover-up program was great, but that the CMHA struggled last year in hiring and retaining workers.

 

According to the 2018 fee and fine schedule, failure to remove graffiti within three days could result in a 157 dollar ticket.

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Marcel Moody Re-Elected


Marcel Moody has been re-elected as the Chief of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation.

 

The election for Chief and Council was held Wednesday and Thursday, with 1684 turning up to the five polling locations to have their say.

 

Despite Moody receiving more than double the support over the second-place candidate, the last council seat came down to only 28 votes.

 

The new NCN Council will be made up of Cheryl Moore, Willie Moore, Ron D Spence, Jackie Walker, Jeremiah Spence and Cheyenne Spence.

 

Moody received 960 votes, more than double what Jerry Primrose received, and more than triple the support for William Elvis Thomas.

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Full Cost Of January Arena Repairs Approved


The cost of the repairs done to the C.A. Nesbitt arena in January was only fully approved by City Council this month.

 

Council had approved the $22,000 quote at the end of January, but were recently was presented with an addition bill totalling over $11k.

 

Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook spoke to Arctic Radio News, and said that it’s

unclear why council didn’t get the full bill more than half a year ago, but that the work was necessary and needed to be done at the time.

 

When the contractor had arrived on site, Smook says that the City was told a temporary patch wouldn’t hold. Council then approved a resolution for the work to be done immediately, as hockey season was still in full swing and the Manitoba Winter Games were just around the corner.

 

Smook said that it’s not clear as to why the full bill wasn’t given to council at the time, but that when the resolution was before council earlier this month it had already been paid.

 

She added that the extra cost was due to overtime, freight, and materials not included in the original quote.

 

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CTA Sets Monday Deadline For OmniTrax


The Canadian Transportation Agency has told OmniTrax that it has until Monday to show that they are complying with a recent order, or else.

 

The CTA ordered the Hudson Bay Railway, which is owned by OmniTrax, to start the process of repairing the rail link to Churchill by July 3rd .

 

The agency says however that their preliminary view is that HBR has failed to

comply with the order, and that the CTA should establish specific deadlines for

compliance steps.

 

A report from OmniTrax says that they issued a request for proposal to six pre-screened contractors on June 28 th , though they have not commented on whether or not they have received any bids.

 

The CTA has said that the Denver-based Corporation is ignoring the fact that

their order made it clear that financial circumstances do not release the company from its service obligations.

 

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Wayne Koversky To Temporarily Head Rec Department


There’s a new face temporarily running the recreation department for the City of Thompson, though he was with the City for a long time in a different role.

 

Council has approved a temporary contract with Wayne Koversky to provide

management support services as Facility manager until the City hires a new

director of recreation and facility manager.

 

There was some back and forth from council during discussion on the resolution, which included Councillor Duncan Wong saying that the job should have been added to the responsibilities of the City Manager.

 

Mayor Dennis Fenske responded, saying that it is far reaching to expect the city manager to step in as the director of recreation on top of all his other responsibilities.

 

Fenske added that once the facilities manager retired and the recreation director was dismissed, City administration made it their priority to put an experienced leader in place temporarily to make sure groups can use the ice on a timely basis.

 

The resolution was approved by a vote of six to three.

 

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Call Made For Provincial Cabinet Minister To Resign


The leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party has called for the resignation of Rochelle Squires, the Minister for Sustainable Development.

 

Dougald Lamont says that Squires should resign her post for withholding a report that says there are elevated levels of toxic materials in an area of Winnipeg, and for misleading people as to why.

 

A report revealing a soil test result from South St. Boniface, which showed increased levels of lead and other metals, was released by the Pallister Government on July 17th, a day after the St. Boniface by-election.  At the time, government officials claimed that the report could not have been made public before then due to by-election blackout rules.

 

Reports have surfaced that the results of the soil tests were delivered to the minister by her deputy over a month before it was made public, and two weeks before the by-election was called.

 

Once it was made public that Squires had the report long before the blackout took effect, Lamont says that she now blames her staff. The release from the Liberal party says that Squires claims that she didn’t know about the reports, despite her deputy and other staff having included her on emails. 

 

The Liberal leaders said “for a Minister to withhold a report like this, and for a government to mislead people about why, is unacceptable.” Lamont added that the only way for the Pallister Government to show accountability in this case is for Squires to take responsibility and resign.

 

The minister held a press conference last fall based on preliminary data, telling residents of St. Boniface that there was no problem with the soil and that they “just had to wash their vegetables”.

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Minor Changes Approved To Executive Staff Terms And Conditions


Despite opposition, City Council has approved the annual review of the executive staff terms and conditions.

 

Deputy Mayor Colleen Smook spoke to Arctic Radio News and said that there were a few amendments made this year, including minor changes to clarify overtime pay in addition to the reclassification of two job descriptions.

 

When it comes to the overtime pay, Smook said that they clarified that overtime can be paid out in money or in banked days, and that if a member of the executive staff switches position, any banked overtime will be paid out at the rate of the old position.

 

The deputy mayor added that there were some other minor changes made when it came to the wording of the staff benefits package.

 

The biggest change made was the reclassification of two positions; Norplex Pool manager and director of public works.

 

Smook said that the job of pool manager has been moved away from the department of recreation, adding that the reclassification allows the position to be quote more answerable to the public. The other position that saw changes was the director of public works, with the water treatment plant and landfill added to the scope of responsibility.

 

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Hydro At Odds With Public Utilities Board


The fate of the new Manitoba Hydro On Reserve First Nations customer class is now in the hands of the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
 
The order came from the Public Utilities Board of Manitoba earlier this year, as the board said the On Reserve First Nations customer class is needed to deal with “energy poverty”.
 
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs heralded the new rate class as a victory, saying that the board is recognizing the hardship faced by people who live on reserves.
 
The PUB also told Hydro they could raise rates by 3.6%, but ordered the crown corporation to freeze rates on reserves.
 
Hydro has since asked the court to overturn the order, with Manitoba Hydro president Kelvin Shepherd says that the PUB is exceeding it’s authority by ordering the new rate class.
 
He added that Hydro is required to maintain uniform rates for all residential customers across the province.

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NCN Polls Open Tomorrow


Tomorrow marks the start of election season here in Thompson, as NCN citizens head to the polls.

 

There will be polls  at the Mystery Lake Hotel and Canada Post main locatione here in Thompson. There will also be places to vote in Nelson House, Leaf Rapids and Winnipeg. 

 

The polls will be open both tomorrow and Thursday from 9:00am until 8:00pm, and you are asked to bring proof of identity.

 

There are 26 people running for six council seats, and three aiming to be Chief.

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Province To Consider Extending Camping Season


Two topics of conversation from here in the north are making their way to the ears of decision makers in Winnipeg.

 

Chuck Davidson, the president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, recently met with the Minister of Sustainable Development to discuss the possibility of extending the camping season, as well as creating more flexibility when it comes to obtaining a fishing licence.

 

Both topics were brought forward by the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce.

 

Davidson said that the meeting with Rochelle Squires, which also included Deputy Minister Rob Olsen, included some exciting possibilities, as well as an agreement on the importance of creating flexibility.

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New Head Of Vale Manitoba Operations Announces Shutdown Extension


More changes are coming to Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

 

Alastair Ross, the recently-appointed head of Vale’s North Atlantic division, sent out an email recently to employees saying that the planned maintenance shutdown of Manitoba Operations will be extended by three to four weeks.

 

Ross explained that the extension is due to a number of serious high potential incidents in the last few weeks, which he believes have been caused by employees being “more prone to accepting risk, distraction and even shortcuts” due to the transition and uncertainty facing the mining industry in Thompson.

 

The former director of Ontario Mining Operations for the Brazilian company, explained that the extra time will be used to quote engage every member of the Thompson workforce in a deeper commitment to operational excellence and to contribute to guaranteeing the safety of the workplace, in addition to the ongoing effort to optimize production.

 

Ross said that extension will not result in any temporary layoffs, and that everyone is expected to come to work when they’re scheduled.

 

The recently-appointed head of Vale’s North Atlantic division also announced that Warren Brass will be retiring in the fall after 37 years, and the current manager of the Garson Mine in Sudbury Ontario will become the interim manager of Thompson Mines.

 

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City Scaling Back Road Work Due To Cut In Promised Funding


The City of Thompson will have to work with significantly less money than was budgeted for when it comes to municipal road improvements following a cut from the Pallister government.

 

City Council received a letter from Jeff Wharton, the Minister of Municipal Relations, saying that Thompson would be getting $200,000 from the annual Municipal Road Improvement Project fund.

 

Councillor Blake Ellis said that the City was told by officials in Minister Wharton’s office that Thompson would be getting $400,000 from the annual Municipal Road Improvement Project fund, the amount that they had received the previous year. He said that having received confirmation of the amount, Council used that number in their budget.

 

Ellis added that the funding announcement came late in the season, as workers are already on site preparing for and doing the work.

 

Mayor Dennis Fenske said that with the reduction in funds, the City would probably have to scrap eight of the additional 11 road improvement projects they had added.

 

Council approved a resolution later in the meeting, which asks the Association of Manitoba Municipalities to lobby the province on this issue.

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Province Appoints New UCN Governing Council


The new governing council for UCN has been announced.

 

Manitoba Education and Training says that Tracey Como of Cranberry Portage, and Albert Tait of Norway House, are the only returning members. That means that there are now five new faces.

 

Gabrielle Lytle of Thompson, as well as Ryan Shewchuk of The Pas, have been appointed as student members, while Becky Cianflone of Flin Flon and Alfred McDonald of The Pas join as board members.

 

Cameron Mateika, from Minitonas, will serve as the chair of the board.

 

The governing council is responsible for determining the college’s mission, vision and values. They are also in charge of appointing a president, and determining the administrative and academic organization of the school.

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Bowman Says Like Fenske, He Can't Get Meeting With Premier


It turns out that it’s hard to get a meeting with the premier even if you’re inside the Perimeter.

 

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said that much like his counterpart here in Thompson, he was denied a meeting to discuss important issues with Premier Pallister.

 

Bowman said that he wanted to talk about $7.9M in promised funding that hasn’t been delivered.

 

The news of Bowman’s inability to meet face to face with Premier Pallister emerged not long after Thompson Mayor Dennis Fenske was been denied access to the premier while he was in Thompson last week.

 

According to Pallister’s office, the premier meets with municipal officials throughout the year, though he expects ministers to "take the lead on matters pertaining to their portfolios".

 

Nine members of the Manitoba Hydro board resigned earlier this year saying that the premier would not meet with them, a claim that Pallister says holds no water.

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Report Finds 130 Considered To Be Homeless In Thompson From March Point In Time Count


The results from the most recent point in time (PiT) count, which was conducted earlier this year, have been released. 

 

This was the second federally-coordinated PiT count, with the first being introduced by the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy in 2016. This years’ count was conducted in over 60 communities across the country between March and April.

 

In Thompson, the PiT count was organized by the CMHA, with support from the University of Manitoba Northern Social Work Program and organizations like the Northern Regional Health Authority, the Thompson Crisis Centre and the Ma Mow We Tak Friendship Centre.

 

Volunteers found that 130 individuals (112 adults, 18 children) in the city were considered to be homeless when they were out on the evening of March 13th and during the day on March 14th. Of the 112 adults surveyed, almost 70% were staying in transitional facilities (such as the homeless shelter) while the rest were counted on the street.

 

The key findings of the report indicate that 60.4% of the adults who were surveyed identified as male, while 94.5% of the participants identified themselves as Indigenous. The largest age group (27% of the adults) said they were between 40 and 49, with 36.1% saying that they first became homeless before the age of 20.

 

The report says that 65% met the criteria for chronic homelessness, 51.8% said that they have lived in Thompson for years and that 54 participants (36.5%) stated that they need services for substance use. 

 

The forward to the PiT count report says that “the causes of homelessness amongst Indigenous people must be viewed within the context of the historical injustices brought on through the process of colonization” and that “the north has a long colonial history that has affected Indigenous peoples and communities. 76.6% of those who were surveyed said that either they or a family member had been to residential school.

 

The CMHA has said that they will be hosting a community cafe to discuss the report. 

 

The full document can be viewed online by clicking here.

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City Council Approves Executive Staff Wage Increase


Thompson City Council approved what was the most contentious item on last week’s agenda: a 1.25% wage increase for executive staff working for the City of Thompson.
 
The resolution was originally on the agenda for councils meeting in July, but was pushed to the August meeting to make sure everyone was voting from a position of knowledge. The debate on the resolution lasted over 15 minutes, with Councillors Duncan Wong and Ron Matechuck leading the charge to have it defeated. 
 
As is the case with all resolutions before council, Mayor Dennis Fenske turned to City administration to provide any pertinent background information on the resolution that might not already been known to members of council. For this resolution, city manager Gary Ceppetelli spoke and said that this is an annual resolution that for the past four years has mirrored the increase unionized city employees receive. He added that the money ($12,395.38 in total) was budgeted for in the City’s 2018 Financial Plan, which was approved by council earlier this year.
 
Councillor Blake Ellis opened the debate, saying that he is in support as the increase maintains consistency between all City employees and will help retain and recruit workers. Like Ceppetelli, Ellis reminded the rest of council that the increase isn’t spending new money as it was already accounted for in the budget.
 
Councillor Matchecuk was the first to speak against the resolution, saying that executives shouldn’t be getting raises. He also took the time to once again point fingers, saying that the City wouldn’t be facing the economic issues that it is had the Grant in Lieu negotiating committee not failed at their job. 
 
Councillor Wong took a different approach by saying that the city manager is in conflict of interest by putting forward the increase, as he is a member of the executive staff that would be seeing the pay bump. Wong then asked if Ceppetelli could prove that he had done his due diligence to show that a raise was in order.
 
Mayor Dennis Fenske shut down Wong’s attack on the credibility of the city manager, saying that putting in forward and signing off on resolutions is part of Ceppetelli’s job, and that it in no way constitutes a conflict of interest.
 
Councillor Penny Byer, who is currently the only person who has declared their intent to run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election, said that the increase can be boiled down to a matter of morale. She said that they as the City will be asking them (administration and executive staff) to put in more time and more effort during tough times, and that it’s a “small token to show them we care”. Byer added that at the end of the day, the increase “probably wouldn’t be enough to buy them breakfast somewhere”. 
 
Mayor Fenske exercised his right as head of council to speak last before the vote, saying that council is “picking on 21 employees” to score points heading into the election. He added that council discussed requiring all City staff to take an extra 10 days off per year, which would have saved $500,000 but ultimately chose to go in a different direction. 
 
Fenske concluded by saying that on one hand council as a whole said that they did not want to to save $500k annually, but that they now want to make a big issue out of $12,395.38 (in 2018) and that they can’t have it both ways.
 
The vote, which was recorded at the request of Councillor Wong, passed by a count of 6-3. Councillor Judy Kolada sided with Wong and Matechuk, making up the three opposition votes.
 
Thompson City Council will resume their regular bi-weekly meeting schedule in September, with the first meeting of the month scheduled for September 4th. 
 

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Opposition Leader Says Pallister Government "Totally Ignored" Thompson In Budget


According to the Manitoba NDP, the 2018 Budget Implemenation Act doesn’t make any reference to Thompson or the north.

 

Wab Kinew spoke to Arctic Radio News late last week, and said that it was disappointing to see that Pallister government “totally ignored the north” and that they didn’t do anything with the Mining Community Reserve Fund. The Fort Rouge MLA said that Premier Pallister not meeting with Mayor Fenske and Thompson City Council “seems like an oversight”, adding that “when you visit a community you should meet with the leadership...that’s pretty straight forward”.

 

The Mining Community Reserve Fund is one of the biggest points of contention between the municipal and provincial governments. The City of Thompson submitted a request to access the fund, but was denied by the department of Growth, Enterprise and Trade who said that the money in the fund is not accessible when it is below $10M. Before the Legislature rose for the summer, Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey repeatedly brought up Thompson and the MCRF, asking Blaine Pedersen (Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade) why the funds are not being made available. 

 

In response to the budget, the Manitoba NDP reached out to communities about the kind of spending they’d like to see. When it comes to Thompson, Kinew told Arctic Radio News that the opposition asked for something to be done about the MCRF so that the City can access the funds, or that the Province simply provide money from somewhere other than the MCRF to help offset both the reduced GIL and the lost jobs due to changes at Vale. 

 

Kinew said that as a leader, he wants to be able to represent people and bring forward their concerns. 

 

The full interview with Wab Kinew will air as a three-part Thompson Today series, with part one airing Monday August 20th at 12:40pm and then again at 5:10pm on 102.9 CHTM. Part two will air on Tuesday August 21st, while part three will be played Wednesday August 22nd.

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Pallister: Thompson Isn't Getting MCRF Money Due To Fund Depletion


Premier Brian Pallister is sticking to the answer that was given to the City by Minister Pedersen’s office when it comes to the Mining Community Reserve Fund.

 

The Premier spoke to Arctic Radio News last week, and said that Thompson isn’t going to be able to access the fund as there just simply isn’t enough money there.

 

Pallister said that the lack of funds is a result of the previous NDP government, who he says let the fund fall below the $10M threshold.

 

The response from the Premier is different though from that of Thompson MLA Kelly Bindle, who most recently quoted a line from the Mining Tax Act, saying that the fund can only be used for communities who are hurt from ore depletion.

 

Many people, including Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsay and Mayor Dennis Fenske, say that the official response of not enough money is just an interpretation, as the tax act says that money cannot be given out for exploration if the fund is below $10M. There is no reference to supporting communities if the fund isn't above $10M.

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Window Closing For Rail Repairs Before Winter


The opportunity to repair the washed-out line to Churchill before winter appears to have passed for a second straight year.

 

Despite an order from the Canadian Transportation Agency and a push from different groups including the Manitoba NDP, OmniTrax says they will only order the work to start if someone else is willing to foot the bill.

 

The Denver-based company has started the process to find a contractor to make the repairs, but maintain that they cannot afford the cost.

 

The Manitoba Government, along with Superior propane, has ordered a supply of fuel for the winter to arrive by sea, though the PC administration continues to say that finding a solution is the responsibility of Ottawa.

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City Forming Committee To Look At Public Transit Within City


The City of Thompson is wasting no time when it comes to figuring out what public transit will look like come November.

 

Having recently received a letter from Greyhound saying that they are terminating the municipal transit contract with the City as of October 31st, mayor and council have announced a committee to identify and investigate potential solutions.

 

The committee will be made up of Councillors Wong, Matechuk, Byer, Kolada and Ellis as well as members of both City administration and the community.

 

At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor Fenske said that the options range from a direct replacement of the current service to the complete elimination of transit services within the City.

 

The chair of the committee will be announced next week.

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Report: Ottawa To Announce New Statutory Holiday


It appears that Ottawa is moving from words to actions when it comes to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Trudeau Government is expected to announce the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which will become the sixth national statutory holiday.

 

The day is intended to mark the ruinous residential school legacy, and a statutory holiday is one of the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

There are two dates that have been named as possibilities, National Indigenous People’s Day on June 21st or Orange Shirt Day on September 30th.

It is reported that September 30th is the preferred date, as June 21st is three days before Saint Jean Baptiste day in Quebec, and just over a week before Canada Day. 

 

Ottawa says that they are working closely with the First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to ensure that the day is both meaningful and truthful.

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10th Annual Burgers To Beat MS Tomorrow


Tomorrow is the annual Burgers to Beat MS day at A&W.

The fast food company will be donating $2.00 from every Teen Burger sold to multiple sclerosis research and support programs. Alternatively, people can make a contribution online by clicking here

A&W says that in addition to money from burgers purchased and online donations, they will donate two dollars every time a video of Canada soccer legend Christine Sinclair talking about the disease is shared, up to a total of $40,000.

This year marks the 10th year the Canadian company has partnered with the MS Society, and since 2009 the fundraiser has collected over $11M dollars for MS research and support programs. That number makes the day the largest annual corporate fundraiser for the MS Society of Canada.

 

Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, with 1 in every 385 Canadian living with the disease.

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Premier Brian Pallister Featured In Two-Part Thompson Today


Premier Brian Pallister was in Thompson last week to take part in one of three simultaneous press conferences announcing a new communications system for first responders.

The visit was met with mixed reactions, as some members of City Council were upset that he turned down a meeting with them, while others were happy that Pallister was once again north of the 55th parallel.

The Premier took time to sit down with Arctic Radio News to talk about his recent cabinet shuffle, the newly-announced rapid access to addiction medications (RAAM) clinics and the Province’s plan and vision for the north.

Part one of the two-part interview will air tomorrow afternoon at 12:40pm and again at 5:10pm during Thompson Today.

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Province Announces Upgrades For Pisew Falls


You might notice construction the next time you visit Pisew Falls.

Manitoba Parks has announced that they are making the Provincial Park more accessible by replacing the existing staircases and boardwalk with a granular path.

The new path will not only feature a handrail, but also allow for those in wheelchairs to access the viewing platforms. 

Manitoba Parks says that the existing infrastructure will remain open during construction, and that the new upgrades will help make Pisew Falls accessible year-round.

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Recycling Centre Open House Tomorrow


If you’ve ever wondered what happens once your recycling is picked up, tomorrow is your chance to find out.

 

The Thompson Recycling Centre is holding an open house from 11:00am until 2:00pm tomorrow, where you can take a tour of the facility.

 

The tours will feature the newly purchased and installed baler, as well as a birds-eye view of how recycling is processed.

 

There will be hot dogs, drinks and watermelon for those who come out, and they will be selling tickets for Juniper School’s Tabs for Wheelchairs Christmas Raffle.

 

The recycling centre is located at 16 Severn Crescent.

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