At Wednesday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting, Mayor Dennis Fenske addressed some of the changes that will affect Thompson’s work force when Vale shuts down the refinery and smelter in 2018.
“Vale employs currently around 1450 employees. And through the transition, retirees, and closure of the smelter and refinery, that work force will be reduced to roughly 900 to 950. There also will be an impact on contractors. Currently they employ somewhere between 400 and 500 contractors. That number will be reduced to around 125.”
Three main areas of work have been identified by the Thompson 20-20 working group as priorities for Vale and the city to date. Fenske highlights them here.
“The first bucket of work talks to the immediate impact of Vale employees. The second bucket of work talks about retirees - not only Vale – but any other person who’s retiring in our community and what we can do to retain retirees in our community. And the third bucket of work is business growth – existing and new business.”
Thompson is 20-20 a working group struck by Vale which has been tasked with ensuring the growth and development of the economy once the company goes to just a mining and milling operation.
Currently the members of Thompson 2020 are Mark Scott and Ryan Land from Vale, Tim Johnston with Community Futures North Central Development, Oswald Sawh from Communities Economic Development Fund (CEDF), Jackie Lagimodiere with the Province of Manitoba and Robert Allen, a designate from Service Canada.
At present, the search is on for a Project Manager as well as an Economic Development Officer for the City.