The Manitoba government is taking further action to increase access to justice in the north and protect the safety of families living in Thompson by investing more than $11 million in infrastructure and public safety initiatives, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen announced today.
“Our government is committed to improving services to enhance confidence in the justice system and to keep Manitobans safe in their homes and communities,” said Cullen. “Providing efficient and responsive justice services to those living in Thompson and surrounding communities is a priority, and these investments will support further modernization of Manitoba’s criminal justice system.”
The minister announced that design work is underway for renovations of the Thompson Provincial Office Building and Court Offices that will include:
• an additional courtroom,
• a child friendly courtroom,
• an additional judges chamber,
• a separate small courtroom for judicial justices of the peace,
• more holding cells, and
• a safe and separate waiting and interview area for victims including child witnesses.
In addition to adding capacity, existing courtrooms will be revitalized and additional space will be created in the administration area, allowing for more efficient processing of cases and better working conditions for court staff.
Plans also feature security upgrades including CCTV security cameras in the court and x-ray machines to enhance perimeter security and screening of those entering the facility. Walk-through and hand-held metal detectors will also be added.
The project will increase accessibility at the Thompson Court Office and make court proceedings more timely and efficient. The minister noted the multi-phased construction project will create jobs for skilled tradespeople in the region including graduates of University College of the North trade programs.
The minister noted $300,000 is also being provided to support collaboration between the RCMP, City of Thompson and other stakeholders in the development of a public safety strategy for Thompson. The province will continue to support law enforcement and community stakeholders in approaches to combat and reduce public intoxication and disorder in the downtown area, and extend the Restorative Justice Centre model to the community.
“As the hub of the north, reducing crime in Thompson and better delivering justice will have far-reaching benefits at home and across northern Manitoba,” said Mayor Colleen Smook, City of Thompson. “As our community works with law enforcement and other partners to develop new plans for public safety, it’s important that we have the resources we need to address the issue effectively.”
The province is also providing $70,000 through Manitoba’s Criminal Property Forfeiture Fund toward specialized equipment for the RCMP to more quickly process cash seized in investigations by the Thompson detachment and to support improved communications systems for the explosive disposal unit when responding to critical incidents.