Council reunites for first meeting of 2019

Highlights include Chamber of Commerce delegation, business bylaw amendment and update on 911 service petition

Thompson city council members are gently easing their way into the New Year, since their first meeting of 2019 on Jan. 7 was relatively short, clocking in at around 40 minutes.

However, during that time the council did touch on some broader municipal issues regarding local business and public safety that will come into play through the next 12 months.

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Chamber presentation

The longest portion of Monday’s meeting featured a presentation from members of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce, who updated the council about their activities throughout the previous year.

After promoting the organization’s new website, president Rajinder Thethy revealed that the chamber attracted 11 new members in 2018, including big players like North Star Air and Canadian Tire.

Thethy said this a good omen for the Thompson business community moving forward, especially after Vale lost about a third of its workforce last year.

“The impact of Vale is going to be felt, but there is that very strong resilience in the business community,” he said. “We’re here to stay. We’re not going anywhere.”

For 2019, Thethy also promised to work closely with the new city council in the hopes of turning the city’s economic fortunes around.

“We’d like to be involved by attracting more physical businesses to Thompson,” he said. “The more businesses that we have the more prosperity for the city coffers through business taxes and property taxes.”

911 petition update

During general inquiries after the chamber’s address wrapped up, Mayor Colleen Smook followed up on a presentation from the governing body’s previous meeting, when a pair of concerned citizens submitted a petition to re-establish a local 911 dispatch centre.

On Dec. 10, Geri Dixon and Alicia Bedford told council that they collected 722 signatures from fellow residents who are dissatisfied with having to use the current 204-677-6911 RCMP emergency response number that redirects callers to Winnipeg.

On Monday, Smook told members of the public that council referred this matter to the public safety committee, which is headed by Coun. Jeff Fountain and Thompson Fire and Emergency Services Chief Mike Bourgon.

“We’ll keep you updated on the situation,” said Smook. “I believe that the situation was with the RCMP in this case, but we’ll be working with everybody.”

Business bylaw amendment

After breezing through several resolutions, council unanimously passed the first reading of an amendment to add a definition for “hobbyist/artisan” into business licensing bylaw 1717-2006.

According to memo written by city licence inspector Frank Sharpe, a hobbyist/ artisan should be defined as “any person who makes handmade goods, produced by themselves or their immediate family and offers them for sale.”

While councillors Fountain and Kathy Valentino voted in favour of this first reading, they both said that the definition could be broadened to include other kinds of entrepreneurs.

Smook echoed their concerns, and said that the definition will be changed to include positions like hobby photographers for the amendment’s second and third readings.

The next Thompson city council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 7 p.m.

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