Mayoral candidate Q&A: Colleen Smook

How long have you been living in Thompson?

Forty-seven years. All seven of my kids were born here. Four of them still live here.

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What do you do for a living?

We have McCreedy Campground and I expedite for hunting and fishing lodges.

Why do you want to be mayor?

I really like to see people working together and I think I can accomplish that both with the city council and with the City of Thompson and the residents. I’d really like to see more collaboration, more input from the community in general before we make our final decisions.

What is your vision for Thompson throughout the next four years?

We have 50,000 people in our service area. A lot of our services, the 13,000 people in Thompson pay for it. One example is our RCMP. For a city of 13,000, we have 38 RCMP. If you go down south, a city of our size has an average of 14 to 16 RCMP. I really think that more of that should be picked up by the province or the feds. I’ve been lobbying for this last year on that premise and basically the mining reserve fund. For years Thompson contributed the bulk of money going into the mining reserve fund from Inco and now to say that we’re eligible for nothing isn’t right. If we don’t get anything now it’s time to restructure the mining reserve fund. We just have to meet more with our provincial counterparts so that they understand us.

How do you plan on contending with the ongoing economic issues that have been plaguing Thompson lately?

Vale only has 900 employees. When they were paying the big dollars to Thompson they had a lot more employees. Vale has downsized. Thompson is still 13,000 to 14,000 people so theoretically it is up to the city to diversify and bring in money from other sources. This summer we’ve had more building permits than ever for renovations and new builds. We just have to change our way of thinking. The dollars are here. It’s just that they’re here differently. Vale, though, still has a commitment. I think they’re showing us that they’re still there with us because they only had to give us $1 million based on the number of people. It could even be less and I think with new operations management at Vale I think they will be doing greater things and we will be in the loop again with them.

Why should someone vote for you over the other candidates?

I’ve always worked for the betterment of Thompson whether it be through volunteer organizations, sitting on different committees. I’ve always kept up with what the city employees were doing and sometimes as a councillor it’s hard because you’re supposed to be hands-off. I think that’s one of the big things is communication. With fellow councillors … I really still believe we’re all one.

Anything else you want to add?

We have to deal with the issue of the vandalism and the youth up here. I think we have to work possibly more with the family services people, Macdonald Youth [Services], the foster homes, the group homes. We as a community have to task them with cooperating with us or communicating with us so that we can all be part of the solution. They on their own can’t fix it and we as a community really can’t fix it. It has to be a collaborative effort.

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