Free WiFi will be coming to Spirit Square and three other city facilities by next summer.
Council, at its Dec. 14 meeting, voted to spend $7,310 to bring wireless Internet access to the Museum at Campbell River, the Maritime Heritage Centre, and the Sportsplex.
Coun. Larry Samson said places such as the museum and Maritime Heritage Centre, which has been used from time to time to host regional solid waste meetings, does not have the capacity to handle the technology the meetings require.
He said bringing those buildings up to speed will provide a huge benefit to the community.
“I think it does affect the people that want to rent our city-owned facilities and want to hold meetings there,” Samson said. “I thinking bringing them all up to a standard so that they can be used adequately by the patrons renting it is important.”
Warren Kalyn, the city’s manager of information technology, said WiFi at the Maritime Heritage Centre will handle 30 concurrent users and cover both floors of the building, as well as the parking lot where the Farmer’s Market sets up.
At the Museum, WiFi will also be available on both floors and will allow for 15 people to use the wireless Internet at the same time.
WiFi added at the Sportsplex will improve upon temporary WiFi that can be accessed during special events such as the Home Show.
WiFi for the Maritime Heritage Museum and Spirit Square will cost the city $120 each month in operating costs while providing wireless Internet access at the Museum and at the Sportsplex will cost $100 each month.
Kalyn said the WiFi access at all four locations will not require use of a password but will be subject to content management, which means access to any inappropriate sites will be denied.
Coun. Colleen Evans said having the wireless access could help the city attract investment and stimulate the economy.
“I think this will give great advantage to ensuring the types of tourism opportunities that we want to host and the events a lot of the non-profits want to host in these centres,” Evans said. “I just think this is going to be a great advantage.”
Kalyn said council can expect the installation of the WiFi to take two to three months and city staff hope to have it up and running by the summer.
Mayor Andy Adams said while he usually wouldn’t condone council spending money in its operating budget so soon after financial planning, he would support the initiative in principle.