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Archipelago pushes for fibre optic cable length of the district


Parry Sound North Star

ARCHIPELAGO TWP. – The Township is asking again if fibre optic cables can be strung along the transmission power corridor from Henvey Inlet to Seguin Township.

Last month Henvey Inlet Wind declined the proposal for high speed internet cables proposed through the Smart Community Network.

Henvey Inlet Wind is building a 68-kilometre power transmission line from the proposed wind farm at Henvey Inlet First Nation in to Seguin Township where it’ll connect into the province’s power grid.

While that line of towers goes up, area townships and the Smart Community Network want to attach fibre optic cables alongside the power lines to bring high-speed fibre optic internet to more homes, schools and businesses in West Parry Sound.

Currently, private businesses have fibre internet in main thoroughfares, including William Street and Highway 141, but other areas are limited to accessing the web through cell towers, phone lines and satellite.

Henvey Inlet Wind shot down the request as proposed by Smart Community last month but Archipelago last week asked for reconsideration.

“They were saying the towers aren’t designed to take the load of an additional line, I said I find it hard to believe the towers were at maximum load,” said Archipelago Township CAO Steve Kaegi Friday during a regular council meeting.

Representatives of the Henvey Inlet Wind project – CanAcre and Patten Energy – told Kaegi, he reported to council, that the proposal would get considered again.

“They expressed a lot of concern administering joint use of the infrastructure,” said manager of corporate services Joe Villeneuve. “We encouraged them to go back because this is a significant infrastructure for us and in our region we don’t see these opportunities often.”

The municipality also gave some incentive for the project to get the green light. As an approved provincial electricity project, Henvey Inlet Wind can expropriate property necessary if purchasing land or getting a right-of-way isn’t workable.

“Maybe as a group (West Parry Sound municipalities) will go ‘Sorry, we’re not going to work co-operatively with you and you have to go through expropriation’, which will slow down the process,” Kaegi reported to council. “I’m trying to get them to take (another) look at getting the line on there.”

Pointe Au Baril area Councillor Tom Lundy reported a ratepayer in Ward 1 threw a representative of the project off of their land after CanAcre and he disagreed about a right-of-way across the property.

Archipelago staff was directed to draft a letter to update area municipalities on the township’s efforts and find out if others are having the same issues.

Construction on the corridor is set to begin the first half of next year for completion at the end of 2018. Turbines at Henvey Inlet should be up mid-2018 and start producing power when the corridor is complete.