News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

October 5, 2021

PROVINCE SUPPORTS LAUNCH OF THOMPSON'S COMMUNITY SAFETY AND WELL-BEING PLAN



THOMPSON—The City of Thompson is launching a new plan to address crime and create a safer, healthier and more inclusive community with support from the Manitoba government, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen announced here today.

“Our government is pleased to support the new Thompson Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWB), which was developed with input from community members, Indigenous partners and stakeholders,” said Friesen. “This collaborative approach brings groups, agencies and organizations together to build a safer, stronger and more resilient community that reflects the priorities of the people who live and work here.”

The province supported the development of the plan through $35,000 in grant funding to the City of Thompson in March 2020, and an additional $50,000 in July 2020 the minister said. The CSWB plan included stakeholder engagement which identified a set or priorities and principals to guide the multi-sector Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee, who are responsible for the oversight and implementation of the plan.

“We’re incredibly grateful that we’ve had such strong support from our community in putting this plan together, including our advisory committee, our survey, and the consultations that followed,” said Mayor Colleen Smook, City of Thompson. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we have the right people at the table to get it done.”

A community advisory committee including leaders from more than 30 different organizations was brought together to create the plan and carry it forward over the next five years. This advisory committee is now in the process of holding small town hall sessions and online engagement to solidify objectives and complete community asset mapping.

“The Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee is pleased with the strides we have made and the path we have charted together to move the community forward,” said Dee Chaboyer, executive director of Ma-Mow-We-Tak Friendship Centre. “The past 18 months has been a time of development and growth, with many community leaders on our committee bringing a strong commitment to helping our community become a safe place to live, work, play and invest. The CSWB Plan incorporates the diverse mandates and missions of approximately 30 organizations, agencies, businesses, property owners and government representatives, all of whom have committed to represent a common and unified voice of Thompsonites who are the collective champions of a healthier and safer community.

“It is clear we have work to do but, with the committed leadership, a well-informed plan to guide us, and the support of mayor and council we will make a difference for the residents of the proud and prosperous hub of the north.”

More than 2,300 people participated in a community safety survey in the summer of 2020. Through this process, six priority areas to improve community safety and well]being outcomes were identified including:

  • integrated alcohol management – focusing on integrated planning, service delivery and support for people experiencing problematic alcohol use issues;
  • reducing demand on police resources – pertaining to non]criminal and low]risk]to]harm matters;
  • community inclusion, systemic inequities and racism – focusing on systemic conditions removing barriers to community inclusion;
  • housing and homelessness – to alleviate housing insecurity;
  • youth – involved crime and harm – to reduce involvement in crime as witnesses, victims and perpetrators; and
  • built environment and social infrastructure – to support community inclusion, opportunities for people to develop connections with one another and enhance accessible recreational opportunities.

The minister noted the former Polaris Centre at the University of the North campus converted into a 24-7 sobering centre reflects the larger goals to support safety and health in Thompson and the surrounding communities.

The Manitoba government provided $2.8 million to establish and operate the centre, and will continue to work with the City of Thompson to open an interim centre in late fall/early winter while construction of the permanent centre continues.

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