Originally built in 1975, the Thompson Provincial Office Building includes three floors of government offices and the lower level serves the courts in which progress is greatly underway.
A major renovation of more than 25,000 sq ft and will include a number of significant improvements for both the public and the courts with the goal of improving access to justice and service to the public.
With this 17 Million dollar renovation, increase of workflow is expected to exceed, making less wait times for reports, hearings as well as “Quicker access to the court system” States Colleen Smook; Thompson city Mayor. Accessibility for the public and staff spaces are also expected to expand such as courtrooms and washrooms. There will be a child-friendly courtroom and an Indigenous courtroom space.
The creation of an Indigenous court space is a critical step in the province's commitment to reconciliation and the province's efforts towards the decolonization of systems in criminal justice.
The preliminary and conceptual designs of the Indigenous court spaces were guided by the support and wisdom of Indigenous Elders and as discussions evolve, will be developed in close collaboration with Indigenous communities and leadership.
Security improvements will be made as well, including the relocation of secure holding cells and adding additional cells with secure access. “This way people can be held accountable without going to jail” Explained Smook
This project is driven by the goal of improving & modernizing service to Manitobans and ensuring a safe, culturally sensitive environment for all those participating in the court process.
The expected end date of the Courthouse additions are anticipated for fall of 2025 as the province is working closely with its construction partners and will make every effort to minimize delays or disruptions during the construction process.
~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.