Getting South Glengarry connected: councillor asks for ‘connectivity’ committee

South Glengarry Coun. Sam McDonell makes arguments for a connectivity committee during a council meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019. McDonell says a committee would do the legwork and prepare the township for upcoming federal and provincial grants. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – Looking to bring better service to South Glengarry, be it natural gas, internet or cell phones, Coun. Sam McDonell has asked the township to strike a connectivity committee.

“I feel connectivity is an important issue as our businesses rely more on technology,” the North Lancaster farmer and territory manager for Maizex Seeds told council last week. “The agriculture business, we’re starting to rely more on internet and mobile services,” McDonell said.

With “a lot of grant money coming down” the pike from the provincial and federal governments, McDonell feels a committee would be beneficial to work on “getting the most out of that.”

McDonell also submitted the petition from Tree Haven Road residents, who’ve been pleading for upgraded internet service. “I can sympathize with them as I’m on a very similar system as they are. Satellite internet is not always reliable,” he said.

McDonell believes the committee should be about six people: two councillors, the economic development officer and 3-4 knowledgeable members of the community.

He wants it to be a “connectivity committee,” looking at natural gas services, internet and cell service. The township did have a high speed internet committee in the past.

“What’s going to attract people and make people want to come and locate here? When you run a mobile office out of your home, it is extremely important to have good internet. It’s hard to get people to locate here if we don’t have the essential services that business people today need just to stay connected to the office.”

Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden said the committee would dovetail well with the work at the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus. “If we are (all) doing the legwork, we may be able to catch the low hanging fruit. I’m in full support.”

The committee formation and terms of reference have been left with South Glengarry EDO Shauna Baggs to work on, with a future report to council.

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