HANTS EAST: Municipal staff is working with the municipality of West Hants to put forth a joint application to Connect to Innovate (CTI), a federal government initiative, as a step towards bringing rural broadband to East Hants.

CTI, is a new $500 million program created to help fund the backbone infrastructure needed to bring broadband services to remote and rural communities across the country.

“The federal government has identified specific areas across the country that this funding application can be aligned with and there are some communities in East Hants that fit with this,” explained Kim MacDonald, Director of Economic and Business Development for the municipality, at council’s executive committee meeting on March 21.

Hants East has 10 pin pointed communities that qualify for eligibility; Admiral Rock, Selma, Stirling Brook, Lower Selma, Noel Shore, Minasville, East Walton, Noel, West Gore and Stanley, are on the list, while West Hants has three eligible locations; Mosherville, Ashdale and Scotch Village.

Tyler Mattheis, Senior Development Officer for the municipality said the preliminary cost estimate is about $6.4 million, the federal government would cover 75 per cent of this, dividing the remaining amount between communities would leave East Hants responsible for around $1.2 million, while West Hants would be responsible for just under $400,000.

Mattheis says these estimates are still very rough, as the application is not due until April 21, and “should be taken with a grain of salt.”

He said he has spent some time on the ground scoping out potential routes for broadband services in the communities identified by the federal government, “I would say that the route could cover more communities as we identified along Noel Shore that seemed to have the same level of services as the ones that are identified,” he said, “The route that it would have to take would inadvertently benefit a number of other communities,” said Mattheis.

This application is in the works based on the findings of the municipalities five year economic development plan, said Matthesis.

“Both in particular with our consolations with Kennetcook and the Noel Shore as well as HERH and HNRH, the youth there in those places, they all identified this as a priority,” he said.

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Nicole Gnazdowsky
Nicole graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University with a degree in political science in 2014 and University of King’s College with a journalism degree in 2016. She has been with The Weekly Press since May 2016. Nicole grew up in Rothesay N.B. and now lives in Halifax. She loves her dog, Madden, and travelling.