Whitewater improving communications through partnership with local provider

·3 min read

Whitewater Region -- Whitewater Internet Solutions Inc. has been granted fee reimbursement for five site plan control applications and in exchange will allow the installation of radio communication equipment on two of its towers on township property.

These were recommendations from Township Planner Ivan Burton provided to council for discussion during its meeting on October 6.

Mr. Burton reminded council that on September 1, it considered five site plan locations throughout the township for Whitewater Internet Solutions. Two of the locations are on township property.

He noted that in this year’s budget there was $65,000 set aside by the fire department to expand its communications network, which included constructing its own tower. By allowing a private company to install the tower and the township to lease space on the tower, it would be less expensive for the township.

“It would be more feasible to get the private company to install the tower and we affix our equipment on the tower,” Mr. Burton said. “The proposal for the landfill is we have support from Whitewater Internet to install a tower on our infrastructure and the Whitewater Fire Department would purchase equipment and install communication devices at the landfill tower.”

The fire department is also seeking to install communications equipment on another tower, possibly on Bromley Line or Lookout Road, he said, adding personnel will have to determine which is the best location.

The agreement is expected to be 10 years the first go-round with renewals for five-year terms, Mr. Burton said.

He noted that in exchange for lease of the land and use of the tower, Whitewater Internet is prepared to provide internet service to the landfill building as well as the municipal garage on Mineview Road and the Cobden water treatment plant for solar operation there.

“That represents a value of approximately $6,000,” Mr. Burton said. “Further, the company will allow the fire department to install equipment on two locations.”

When questioned by Councillor Charlene Jackson as to who is responsible to pay the property taxes, Mr. Burton said that is information he will have to research and include in the agreement.

Councillor Neil Nicholson said he is pleased to see this partnership coming to fruition.

“This is a perfect example of where we’ve been able to optimize public and private partnerships,” he said. “Not only have we saved money from a township perspective, but we are offering a better service, both from the fire department and from an internet perspective. This is just a perfect example of things we want to encourage. We want these types of partnerships to continue to happen.”

He added council is being asked to waive a small fee, but the service levels “go up dramatically for our community.”

Councillor Dave Mackay has been dealing with this company for about a year.

“I’m very happy with their service, compared to cable analog service,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea to have a partnership with Whitewater Internet.”

Following questions regarding communications equipment being installed on other Whitewater Internet towers, Mr. Burton said that is something that will have to be discussed.

“They’ve agreed to allow us to install communications equipment on two towers,” he said. “If the fire department wishes to seek approval for other towers, I’m certain the company will work with us to get that done.”

Mayor Mike Moore said it wouldn’t hurt to have that conversation to see where the township stands.

“We may want to open an agreement for future installation, but if we don’t ask right now, we don’t know if it’s possible.”

Mr. Burton noted the fire department currently has no need for a third or fourth tower, but he will review that with the department staff.

Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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