By Marianne Curtis
The RM of Piney council is putting their money where their mouth is by committing a quarter of a million dollars towards bringing cellular service to the municipality. The municipality recently committed $250,000 towards cellular phone capital improvements that will incorporate a land area of at least fifty percent or greater of the municipality.
According to council, the municipality has been working for over a decade to improve cellular service coverage within the municipality with little improvement resulting from those efforts.
After wild fires and several snow storms caused power fails and other difficulties with communications, the municipality has had enough.
“Cellular phone service is an essential and necessary service to the general population, and more importantly to emergency responders and people in need of assistance from emergency responders,” stated council. “The Southeast Manitoba region contains vast areas of territory which either completely lack cellular service or receive cellular service which is not adequate to make a phone call.”
At the beginning of October the RM`s of Stuartburn, Piney, Franklin, La Broquerie and Hanover all suffered from a number of disastrous events which covered immense portions of the Southeast Manitoba region, during which emergency crews had limited or no access to cellular phone service whatsoever causing delays in response time to reach or even be aware of emergencies which surrounded people and properties.
Council made the decision for a funding commitment because they feel feels that all levels of government have a responsibility for preventing the loss of life; harm or damage to the health and wellbeing of people; damage to property or infrastructure in the case of an emergency.
The RM of Piney`s funding commitment is good for two years and expires in October 2014.