Parry Sound-Muskoka MP talks Starlink, affordable housing and West Parry Sound pool complex

·2 min read

At its April 7 council meeting, the Municipality of McDougall welcomed Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison to the Zoom meeting.

Some of the key files Aitchison said he was focused on were affordable housing and rural broadband connectivity issues.

On housing:

“We’re working on a couple specific projects but also trying to make sure that the rapid housing initiative that the federal government announced (has) opportunities for the (District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board) and the District of Muskoka,” said Aitchison.

On broadband connectivity in Parry Sound -Muskoka:

“Another really big one that I think we’re having some successes with is rural internet and broad band issues and trying to make sure that Parry Sound-Muskoka gets a piece of the $1.5 billion,” he said.

Asked if Starlink has been on his radar, Aitchison replied, “1,000 per cent yes.”

“I’ve been chatting with folks from the bureaucracy about the concept of whether or not it might make sense for some of these federal dollars to support some folks in the rural area in getting on to Starlink,” he said, adding that he had paid the $129 preorder fee himself.

The preorder fee for Starlink puts an individual on the waiting list for when Starlink equipment becomes available in their area. The Starlink terminal costs $649 plus applicable taxes out right and the monthly cost for Starlink is $129.

“I understand the start-up costs are significant … which is certainly far out of the reach of an awful lot of folks in our communities. So, we’ve been talking about the concept of perhaps the federal government assisting with some of those start up costs,” said Aitchison.

On the West Parry Sound Wellness Centre and Pool Complex:

“We’ve certainly inquired about it … we’ve been told that it’s in their mix,” replied Aitchison to McDougall’s Mayor Dale Robinson’s inquiry on the potential status of the funding application.

“My understand is that projects that are elevated from the provincial level are almost sort of automatically — it’s a partnered fund but I have not received a definitive answer on that yet,” he said.

The Parry Sound-Muskoka MP said that he thanked council for having him on and that he would look further into details on the pool complex’s funding application.

Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star