SRD Manager of Strategic Inititiatives Victoria Smith presents Vice-Chair Brad Unger with the certificate of incorporation. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Regional District receives incorporation for broadband plan

Stand-alone corporation will manage Connected Coast project for region

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) has launched a new regional broadband service and its first corporation to bring improved broadband infrastructure to the region.

The Strathcona Connected Coast Network Corporation (SCCNC) was incorporated on Sept. 7 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SRD. The SCCNC will be responsible for rolling out the $45.4-million Connected Coast project announced earlier this year in partnership with CityWest, an established telecommunications company owned by the City of Prince Rupert.

The Connected Coast project will bring new or improved high-speed internet accessibility by constructing a new undersea fibre optic cable and landing sites in 154 rural and remote coastal communities, including 56 Indigenous communities representing 44 First Nations along the B.C. coast from Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii, south to Vancouver and around Vancouver Island.

Funding for the Connected Coast project is being provided through the federal Connect to Innovate program, Indigenous Services Canada and the provincial Connecting British Columbia program. Although the project is anticipated to be fully-funded through these programs, at its regular meeting Wednesday the SRD board also adopted a loan authorization bylaw following a public approval process. This bylaw will enable the SRD board to authorize borrowing for broadband infrastructure projects should additional funding be required.

At the SRD board meeting, Vice-Chair Brad Unger was presented with the SCCNC’s certificate of incorporation to mark the occasion.

“This is a proud moment for our board. The need for improved broadband connectivity for our rural and remote communities is a significant issue and has been a strategic priority of our board for some time. It is great for us as a board to come together to form a regional service and a corporation that will lead the delivery of new infrastructure and initiatives,” he said.

As the SCCNC moves into more detailed project planning, representatives will be talking with Vancouver Island communities, First Nations, regional districts, ISPs and industry representatives to gain project approvals, better define needs and identify additional opportunities. Further information on the Connected Coast project is available at: https://connectedcoast.ca

The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services, now including regional broadband, to approximately 46,000 residents.