St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc (SABRI) is hoping to see some movement soon on cell towers that will expand cell coverage on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
According to SABRI executive director Sam Elliott, applications have been submitted to use Crown land in both Raleigh and St. Lunaire-Griquet. He is hopeful they will learn the results soon.
“They should be very efficient in getting that out to us,” he said.
Elliott says SABRI’s concern is that if there any delays in getting approval from Crown lands, it will delay ordering and construction in what is already a limited season.
“No one can go out and order equipment until you got assurances that you got the land to put it on,” he said. “We’re hoping to have a fast turnaround on this because it’s a very important project and everybody here is waiting for it.”
In July, $1.5 million in funding was announced to construct two cell towers in Raleigh and St. Lunaire-Griquet. The towers are expected to improve and expand cellular coverage throughout the region.
If the application is successful, an 80-metre Long-Term Evolution (LTE) tower will be installed in Raleigh at Ha Ha Mountain and a SimpleCell pole will be installed at the top of St. Brendan’s Trail in St. Lunaire-Griquet.
The project will be cost-shared between SABRI, Bell Canada and the provincial government at an estimated total cost of $1,447,655.
SABRI’s share of the project is $361,914, of which it has raised $100,000, mostly through sponsorships thus far.
Several months on from the announcement, SABRI is still seeking support through pledges. The organization is a social enterprise that invests its revenue back into communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.
However, shrimp has been its primary source of revenue and it has suffered significant losses in revenue due to cuts in its shrimp quota. As a result, the organization has been seeking more public support, though that support has been somewhat lacking.
Elliott says SABRI had expected more donations.
“We thought that a lot more people would have seen the merits and benefits of what we’re doing,” he said, stressing that the cell towers will expand cell coverage throughout the entirety of SABRI’s region.
This means, if someone has a medical emergency on the road, for example, they would be able to call from areas where they could not before. Or if someone gets lost on a snowmobile, they would be able to call out for help.
These are the types of benefits Elliott foresees.
He reminds the public they can still donate at the town hall in St. Anthony. A tax receipt for contributions will be issued.