Thompson mayor elected chair of municipalities association cities caucus

Thompson Mayor Colleen Smook was elected as the new Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) cities caucus chair at a meeting of municipal officials from the province’s 10 cities in Steinbach Sept. 24.

“I am very grateful and humbled to take on this new role on behalf of Manitoba’s cities,” said Smook in an AMM news release. “Manitoba municipalities share many similar challenges, and therefore I am looking forward to assisting the AMM with its advocacy efforts to benefit all members of our strong association.”

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Smook will succeed Selkirk Mayor Larry Johansson as chair of the cities caucus, which includes Winnipeg, Brandon, Dauphin, Flin Flon, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach, Thompson and Winkler. Her two-year term as cities caucus chair begins in November.

At the Sept. 24 meeting, the caucus discussed COVID-19 impacts and the importance of amending Bill 48 so it will benefit all Manitobans and foster a quicker economic recovery. Other topics included the status of Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) applications and the future of provincial government jobs across Manitoba.

The cities caucus meeting was attended by provincial Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires, who announced a one-time $5 million fire protection grant for municipalities and local fire departments, while also updating caucus members on the ICIP and the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement.

“The Safe Restart Agreement includes critical support for local governments,” said AMM president Ralph Groening. “All orders of government need to continue working together to ensure this support reaches municipalities quickly given the tremendous financial pressures facing local communities.”

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