| Aug 17, 2006

Feature Article - August 17, 2006

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Feature Article - August 17, 2006

AHhoping to offer cash incentive to cell phone provider

by JeffGreen

Addington Highlands Council has been trying to convince communications giants Bell , Rogers and Telus to put in the necessary equipment to provide cell phone service between Northbrook and Denbigh, and they have now decided to put a $50,000 cash incentive in place to try and pique the interest of one of the three companies.

Last year, Addington Highlands and North Frontenac Councils sponsored a petition which was signed by 13,000 people, urging one of the three companies to put up towers in the region. Earlier this summer, a team from Telus attended a meeting with members of Addington Highlands Council, and subsequently Telus sent an email outlining what the company is looking for in order to bring the service on stream within the next year or so.


“They said they were looking for a commitment from 1,000 to 1,500 customers, in the form of a $50 deposit, in order for them to move forward in 2007 with two towers on Hwy. 41,” Addington Highlands Reeve Ken Hook told the News.

Hook does not think that the township is in a position to mount a campaign to start signing people up for cell phone service.

At a joint AH Council and Economic Development Committee meeting held on July 27th, Steve Pauls, the Manager for Economic Development for the County of Lennox and Addington, advised that other municipalities he is familiar with have run into difficulties by getting involved in pre-selling similar kinds of services.

This left the committee with little to say in response to Telus, until Reeve Hook proposed that the township make a counter offer to Telus of $50,000, to be raised from the general levy in lieu of attempting to get individual commitments by canvassing. The money will be used as an incentive, to be paid out to any company when they have installed the necessary equipment to begin offering the service.

“We would have a special levy for this,” Hook said later, “It will be about $18 on each tax bill, and ratepayers will have to be able to opt out if they object. We’ve tried everything else to entice someone to bring cell phone service to the township. Maybe this will work.”

Hook said that cell towers on Hwy. 41 would extend service about 8 kilometres to each side of the highway, covering a large amount of Addington Highlands and a portion of Barrie Ward in North Frontenac.

Fifty thousand would only cover a minor portion of the installation costs that would be incurred by a provider, which are in the range of $1 million for each tower.

Betty Hunter, from North Frontenac Council, attended the July 27th meeting, and Hook is hoping that North Frontenac will support this latest initiative. The cell phone petition of last summer was jointly sponsored by the two townships.

Offering up a cash incentive to businesses is an unusual step, and before taking it, Addington Highlands is consulting their solicitor to see if such an offer contravenes either the monopoly or bonus provisions of the Municipal Act.

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