The Association of Manitoba Municipalities Annual Convention takes place later this month and 54 resolutions are up for debate, however, a late resolution submitted by the RM of Stuartburn promises to be added to the list in the first spot, due to its critical subject matter.
The resolution calls for “immediate steps to provide Southeastern Manitoba with reliable emergency (Fleetnet) service, and new improved cellular service.”
The AMM has lobbied both the provincial and federal governments for some time to develop a plan for improving wireless communication and internet services in rural and northern Manitoba. “We have pushed for this in part because lack of high speed internet and cell service is an impediment to attracting new businesses,” says AMM President, Doug Dobrowolski. “But the seriousness of the situation goes far beyond economic growth. It affects the safety of the people who live and work in these dead zones and their ability to contact someone in an emergency.”
The resolution stems from a devastating wildfire that raged through Vita on October 2, followed by a snowstorm on October 4, which crippled communications in the area resulting in a life-threatening situation for residents. In fact, according to Jim Swidersky, Reeve of the RM of Stuartburn, “Over the past year, the RM of Stuartburn and our neighbours, the RMs of Franklin, Piney and La Broquerie, have had four emergencies – three wild fires and a power outage due to a severe winter storm. In all four emergencies, communications were inadequate, with cellular service that was spotty to non-existent.” (See backgrounder for more information.)
Swidersky says the time to act is now. “Without a reliable cellular service we endanger lives of our residents and those who are charged with protecting them in emergency situations. That is why it is very critical to public safety that the provincial and federal governments take immediate action to provide reliable cell service to Southeast Manitoba – before a life is lost.”
The first resolutions session of the AMM 14th Annual Convention takes place at the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm.