Armour Township council has caught a financial break when it comes to installing high-speed internet at the Katrine Community Centre.
Coun. Rod Ward says Lakeland Networks has agreed to put in high-speed internet at the facility, with no upfront installation costs to the township.
Ward says the only ongoing cost the municipality faces is a monthly fee of about $200.
Earlier this spring, Lakeland Networks became the recipient of a Universal Broadband Funding announcement that would see it run high-speed internet to homes from Emsdale to South River.
“They weren't going to hit every home but they were following a certain path,” Ward told the Nugget.
“They happened to be going up Katrine Road and Ferguson Road in Katrine, and eventually they were going to go right by our community centre.”
Ward mentioned this development to his fellow council members, who unanimously supported talking to Lakeland Networks about what it would take to include the community centre in this latest phase to bring high-speed internet to the Almaguin Highlands.
“We decided let's take advantage of this,” Ward said.
“It was perfect timing. We use the community centre as an emergency measures building, so if there was something like a flood, we would hold meetings there. It's also used as a warming place and we should have internet access there. It would allow us to hold public meetings through ways like Zoom.”
When Lakeland Networks was approached about installing high-speed internet at the community centre, to everyone's surprise the company not only agreed to the request but also waived the installation fee.
Once in place, Ward says the public Wi-Fi will let people access the internet from inside the building and even outside in the parking lot of the community centre.
Ward says high-speed internet is an issue in the Armour area, as well as other regions of Almaguin, and not everyone has access to it.
But that situation will improve a little for the small community.
Ward says an exact date for when the community centre will be outfitted with high-speed internet has not been worked out.
But considering a contract was signed with Lakeland Networks just last week, Ward says the wait won't be long.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget