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County council supports EOWC initiative

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

Northumberland County Council endorsed resolutions to seek lower energy costs for rural areas and expand mobile broadband/cells in Eastern Ontario after a Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus presentation by Jim Pine and Lisa Severson this week.
VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today

Northumberland County Council endorsed resolutions to seek lower energy costs for rural areas and expand mobile broadband/cells in Eastern Ontario after a Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus presentation by Jim Pine and Lisa Severson this week. VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today

NORTHUMBERLAND  - 

Northumberland County council has passed a resolution supporting the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus (EOWC) in its effort to improve mobile broadband and cellular networks where drop outs and lack of capacity hinder communication, data and public safety.

Council passed a separate resolution also at its most recent council session to push the Ontario government to develop affordable energy solutions for rural Ontario.

During his presentation to council, EOWC chief administrative officer Jim Pine outlined the success of the EORN project which brought high speed internet to 423,000 homes and businesses in a 50,000 square foot area of Eastern Ontario, but that there remain areas which still get no service, or have not enough capacity to conduct business, or send video or medical data in the case of emergency services.

To that end, a study was undertaken to determine where facilities,such as towers, need to be installed to fill in the gaps in Northumberland - and in all of Eastern Ontario.

In the meantime, the Federal government is looking at improving communications for emergency situations with a Public Safety Broadcast Network, and so the two are working together, Pine said.

The cost to build separate infrastructure would be $325 but combined, with tower sharing, the cost would be $278-million, or a saving of $45-million, he said.

EORN has already shown it can design, build and deliver a major telecommunications project, Pines stressed.

County council is endorsing development of a “full business case proposal” which it views as a “major regional economic development priority,” according to the resolution passed.

What the county's financial commitment to the project could be was not discussed – but the initial high-speed project cost Northumberland taxpayers about $600,000 of a $9-million-plus investment in the county which involved financing from federal and provincial governments, and the communications industry partners.

The other EOWC position the county councillors are supporting is asking the Ontario Government to bring “a reliable flow of natural gas to rural and remote areas of eastern and western Ontario...as a catalyst for growth” and that the Liberal Government reconsider any plans related to its Climate Change Action Plan that would “replace affordable energy options with more expensive” ones.

The county supports EOWC, and its western counterpart, in also asking the Ontario Government to come up with affordable energy solutions for rural areas.

Hamilton Township Mayor and County Councillor Mark Lovshin asked that a copy of this resolution go to local riding MPP Lou Rinaldi. Warden and Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier said that would happen, in addition to the discussions with the MPP that had already taken place.

vmacdonad@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/NT_vmacdonald



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