It’s been nearly one year since Dennis Fenske was elected mayor of Thompson, winning 2,050 votes, while his opponent Luke Robinson brought in 968 during the Oct. 22, 2014 election.
Fenske says this year has been a big learning curve. “I think this year has been an interesting year as this is the first term where we’ve had such a dramatic change over in councillors, from experience to first year councillors. We are 11 months into the term and I think everyone understands his or her roles. We had some bumps in the road in regards to that, so for me, my first year has been a coaching role, as I’ve had a previous term as a councillor and 19 years as an employee.”
This past year Thompson residents saw the start of the community safety officers, which Fenske believes is one of the top highlights of the year. “The issues haven’t gone away, but how we’re dealing with them is different. The homeless problem downtown isn’t a criminal issue, so we’ve been able to assist people with finding housing like 95 Cree Rd.”
The eight officers who were hired will be sticking around for the winter as full-time employees. Fenske says this will improve Thompson more, since in previous years bylaw officers left at the end of September.
The second greatest accomplishment for 2015, Fenske believes, is transfer of the landfill to the City of Thompson.
Although there have been successes, Fenske noted that there have been some harder times, and believes things could have gone smoother for the construction on Cree Road. “We’ve been hampered with weather and delays and people have been very patient, but we have had Cree Road under construction for basically all summer. Unfortunately the weather hasn’t cooperated.”
The construction was supposed to be completed by September, but a Facebook post by the City of Thompson on Sept. 21 stated that paving was anticipated to start on Sept. 28 and will be finished by Oct. 2.
Fenske says talks are underway on discussing how to meet deadlines, and sorting out other ways to improve the tendering process.
The future is bright for the City of Thompson, the mayor says. “We’re in the midst of discussions with Vale in regards to the transfer of the water treatment plant, we’ve been awarded our two-thirds funding for the wastewater treatment plant, so we’re moving ahead with the design stage of that, which will be completed in the term of this council. The other big one would be the Local Government District (LGD) discussions, in regards to taking over the LGD.”
Even with the doom, as Fenske calls it, of federal politics, he says it’s nice to see Thompson growing economically, with businesses coming to Thompson, and other storefronts and homes getting facelifts.
Fenske says the previous council finished the Thompson Regional Community Centre, and the current council is working on the Norplex Pool. The mayor finished off saying University College of the North is a big factor of Thompson growing. “With the housing on site, and the expansion with the university, and working on the skills and trades centre as well, the location of the high school right next door. What I see for the future of Thompson is stability, industry, but also growth in education and health sector.”