Commission hopes to improve area cell coverage - Oct. 30, 2013
The local Planning Management Committee (PMC) is hoping it can obtain better cell coverage for Campobello, Grand Manan, and the Hemlock Knoll landfill.
Larry Parker of the LSD of Dufferin said the committee is working towards emergency planning with the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO). Parker then stated “The handicap there is the cell coverage at Hemlock Knoll. It’s a problem we want to deal with.”
Later in the regular meeting of the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission (SNBSC), executive director Frank Tenhave explained that the Hemlock Knoll facility, if it had better cell coverage, would be a great location for EMO to set up a base of operations should disaster strike.
“We have a lot of facilities on the EMO side that are very attractive to EMO as far as being a communications nerve center. We’ve got large equipment, we’ve got generators so we’ve always got power, we’ve got parking, we’ve got a lot of stuff. But unless you’ve got the communications, you’re really not what they need.”
There are also problems with cell coverage on the two islands, which can provide similar problems in an emergency.
“Campobello has zero cell coverage and Grand Manan has very weak cell coverage with only certain parts of the island where you can get it,” said Tenhave.
While any improvements in cell coverage are a long way off, some initial research into potential enhancements to cell coverage in those three areas is underway. A member of the Planning Review and Adjustment Committee who does not sit on the commission is doing initial research into the problem.
“He’s looking at cell phone towers, where the gaps are, if we can improve the quality of service and what the cost for that would be,” said Tenhave. That work is being done on a volunteer basis at no cost to the SNBSC. Once research is done, and if a proposal is made to improve coverage, Tenhave said, the improvements to cell coverage would likely need the support of the province to become a reality.
“Bear in mind we are a low population with a large geographic area to deal with. Nobody’s going to come and say ‘we want to put a tower in.’”