The proposed multi-million dollar project to improve access to mobile networks is critical to eastern Ontario businesses.
This message was made clear at Thursday’s meeting of Hastings County council.
County CAO and co-leader of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network Jim Pine says for business and tourism it is critical to be able to connect to the internet.
Pine told council he hears this everywhere, that businesses really need this service, particularly in Eastern Ontario.
Mayor Vivian Bloom of Hastings Highlands gave the example of a traffic accident in a rural area of her municipality which does not have the mobility service. She says if it hadn’t been near a house where they could get access to a phone they would not have been able to reach emergency services.
Pine pointed to the $71 million pledged by the province this week toward the $513 million project. Pine expects the federal government to provide its share by this fall.
He said officials were meeting with private partners this week to ensure they are part of the project too.
Hastings County has pledged $504,395 and Belleville $363,100. The project includes 10 municipalities from Prescott to Peterborough.
He says the work will begin in 2019, including new communication towers.
The project is expected wrap up in about three or four years.