Thompson Economic Diversification Plan
Thompson Economic Diversification Plan
2011 - 2014
The need to broaden and diversify the economic base in Thompson and surrounding region is a long-standing priority. Economic volatility in recent years coupled with the November 2010 announcement that Vale will transition its operations in Thompson to mining and milling by 2015, have underlined the need for the City, the region and community partners to tackle this issue head on. The Thompson Economic Diversification Working Group (TEDWG) was formed to spearhead this effort. SvN, working with affiliate firm rePlan, facilitated the TEDWG process with the goal of accelerating Thompson’s development as a regional service centre for northern Manitoba with a strong mining pillar.
SvN and rePlan worked with stakeholders to identify two streams of work that will help Thompson diversify its economy and strengthen its position as an economic contributor to northern Manitoba. A new regulatory framework, including an updated Development Plan and Zoning By-law; a Sustainable Asset Management Framework; and the Thompson and Region Infrastructure Plan address growth management and infrastructure development. Action Plans in the areas of Restorative Justice; Education and Training; Housing; Local and Regional Identity; and Economic Development provide strategic direction on specific initiatives.
The Thompson Economic Diversification Plan summarizes each of the Action Plans and Regulatory Framework documents undertaken through the TEDWG process. When taken together, these individual plans form a comprehensive framework for sustainable economic diversification, development and growth in the Thompson Region.
The TEDWG was chaired by the City of Thompson, and includes representatives from Vale, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Okimakanak Keewatinowi (MKO), Keewatin Tribal Council (KTC), Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF), Northern Association of Community Councils (NACC), Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN), Thompson Unlimited and the Thompson Chamber of Commerce.
“Thompson is a work of urban surgery: taking an outmoded mining economy and transitioning it to a modern diversified economy that takes its power from the region’s unique competitive strengths.” -Drew Sinclair, Partner, SvN
Thompson Economic Development Working Group
Smart: A critical focus of TEDWG was a cohesive strategy for skilled workforce development to drive the local economy and investments. Thompson had suffered a drain of skilled workers for decades. A smart economy is one that identifies both it’s greatest technological AND human needs. TEDWG delivered a strategy for investments in a new University, an industrial skills training centre, and upgrading to existing institutions. Education, in Thompson, is the catalyst that drives the new economy.
Green: The reality of depopulation, associated with economic decline, generates real risk for towns and regions as their fundamental infrastructures suffer for lack of maintenance. The TEDWG program aligned the private sector’s interests with crucial infrastructure needs- creating incentives for partnerships that would allow for immediate and on-going infrastructure renewal.
Resilient: Thompson is the centre of a vast regional economy, but it suffered from a vulnerability resulting from decades of insular decision making. TEDWG opened lines of communication and investment between super-regional economic drivers, like Manitoba’s vast mining and forestry industry, and the City. Allowing for critical urban upgrades while also assuring that the City would no longer suffer as the global economy impacted one or another of its core industries.
Sustainable: The most innovative aspect of the TEDWG Plan is the transition from a vulnerable single economy (local mining) to a fully diversified economy that could generate sustainable growth for the City for the first time in decades. The Plan relied on careful urban thinking and strategic architectural interventions to assure both impact and affordability.
Team: Drew Sinclair, Shonda Wang, Ana Espinosa