Telecommunications Network to Include Island Neil Zacharjewicz

MANITOULIN – The District of Manitoulin is included in plans for a new broadband telecommunications network. A consulting team, to be led by Global Bridgeworks Inc., has been awarded a major contract by NetCentral to provide technical and management expertise, an in-depth understanding of northern issues, and a structured approach for designing telecommunications networks.

NetCentral is a consortium of private and public sector partners which plan to design and implement the network. The Community Based Network (CBN) is to be interconnected with the proposed Northern Ontario Communications Network (NOCN) which will interconnect with four other CBN hubs. The five hubs are to be located in Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins.

According to Dawn Noel de Tilly , manager of operations for Global Bridgeworks Inc., the new network infrastructure will link the regions, allowing everyone in the communities involved access to a bandwidth to do whatever it is they need to do. She indicated finding out exactly what each community�s needs are is what Global Bridgeworks Inc. has been contracted to do. The network will provide services such as video conferencing at a reduced cost as to what residents of these communities could expect now.

�If you think of it as a pipe which will be laid, connecting all of the communities, anyone will have access to it. They can use whatever amount of the pipe they need. For instance, if the hospitals needed to do MRI imaging and have access to the telemedicine capability between hospitals, they would need a fairly big chunk of the pipe. But they will be able to do it, and their costs will not be any higher than the person who has a need for a simple video conference on a smaller bandwidth,� she said.

Manitoulin is to be included in the CBN with the District of Sudbury, and the Town of Elliot Lake. Working alongside Global Bridgeworks Inc. will be Planned Approach, Avita Technologies Corp., and WRS Communications.

Global Bridgeworks Inc. will offer network management and support services through its Network Control Center located in Sudbury. It will provide advanced multi-media conference bridging services, technical help desk support, network monitoring and surveillance services. Noel de Tilly pointed out the company will be working with economies of scale, which means every community will be serviced at the same time with the same available options.

Global Bridgeworks Inc. President Theo Noel de Tilly stated �we will work closely with the NetCentral stakeholders to design and implement a world class telecommunications network that will enhance services and level the economic and technological playing field across the north. we are all very committed to this project and look forward to helping our clients design a sophisticated network for the north.�

by Neil Zacharjewicz

It did not take the divine power of prophecy to figure something like this was bound to happen. Now, one of the greatest fears of local municipal leaders has come true. The Manitoulin – Sudbury District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) lived up to its lofty expectations by totally disregarding any of Manitoulin�s concerns when it decided there was no need to investigate the possibility of contracting out services.

More control? Sure, the direct delivery of services would provide this, but how much extra will it cost the municipalities? Who knows? Not the DSSAB Board itself. It would not even take the time to investigate a comparison of costs between direct delivery and contracting.

One of Manitoulin�s primary concerns since the issue of DSSABs first arose has been the cost to the taxpayers. Manitoulin�s representatives expressed this by voting in favor of at least examining a cost comparison. Unfortunately, that amounted to a total of three votes (unincorporated territory representative Dale Van Every was not present for the meeting, and he represents more than just the unorganized communities on the Island) against most of the rest of the board. Mr. Hodgson? Ms. Witmer? Are you out there? Did you hear us? Is this the way you wanted things?

�And on the seventh day, they rested. They looked out upon all they had created, and they deemed… it was passable until a better idea came along!� Is this the way it has to be? Are the Manitoulin representatives going to have to continue to attend meetings and have a deaf ear turned to their concerns? If so, could our representatives put forward a request to have the name of the board changed to �The Manitoulin Versus Sudbury DSSAB�? At least then people would know it was not a real partnership

UCCM Anishnaabe Police Plan for New Year

WEST BAY – With the 1998 year at an end, it is time to reflect back, and more importantly to look forward, and to begin developing and implementing new plans and initiatives that focus upon the months ahead given the experiences and trends occurring within our communities, stated Albert Beaudin, Chief of Police for the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) Anishnaabe Police, in a release last week.

Some of the plans for the new year will not have changed from prior years, while some new initiatives are being planned, said Beaudin. As a brief summary of statistics for 1998, there were over 1,850 incidents reported to the UCCM Anishnaabe Police, and over 450 charges laid throughout the year. The majority of charges laid were criminal code charges, with significantly less charges in the area of traffic enforcement.

With the UCCM Justice Project implemented in 1998, certain incidents are now referred to the project whereby all parties affected by the action attend a healing circle; UCCM police officers are required to attend the healing circles as planned by the Project, and it is expected that use of the Justice program will continue to increase in 1999.

Unchanged from last year, assaults and property crimes represent the majority of incident types that are reported to police, said Beaudin. As a result, preventative measures that aim to reduce the amount of break and enters will be conducted on a regular basis. During the winter months, UCCM officers will be assigned to conduct property and cottage checks using the Service�s snowmobile, with the invaluable assistance of the UCCM Auxiliary (volunteer) members. When snowmobiles are no longer effective due to weather changes, the All Terrain Vehicles will be utilized to conduct the same patrols with the UCCM First Nations.

To assist with the reporting and identification of property items that are the usual targets of thefts, items such as stereos, tools, and appliances, plans are in progress to develop a method for citizens to easily record and identify their valuable items, the details of which are very useful in the event a theft should occur. Often, victims of thefts do not know details such as serial numbers and makes and models of their property, and these types of details are crucial to the successful identification and recovery of stolen items.

Beaudin reported that drugs continue to be a major concern, a concern which was identified first hand within the survey that was completed in our First Nations communities in March, 1998. Unfortunately, people are reluctant to report and become involved in assisting the police in preventing drug activities in their communities, and it is difficult to combat this activity without the public�s assistance. In response to the survey, an officer was selected and trained specifically in this area, and will be assigned to this detail during certain periods.

As our First Nation communities are small, the use of Crimestoppers will be actively promoted with the UCCM First Nations beginning March, 1999. As was indicated in the survey previously mentioned, there continues to be a large number of unreported crimes in our First Nations, often because people do not want become involved to give a statement or attend court. As was identified earlier, the public�s assistance is greatly needed in combating drug activity, and we hope that through public education and Crimestoppers, that more and more people will use the service to report such activities, and of course, any other crimes. Active use of the Crimestoppers program will not only help solve existing crimes, but will also serve as a deterrent to future crimes if the community decides to take an active role and stance against crime in their community. the most important feature of Crimestoppers is anonymity, which is very important for any small community.

A police-youth worker has been working with the Service for the past few months whose tasks are to propose innovative programs that will promote positive aboriginal youth and police officer interaction. Recreational activities blended with crime prevention awareness programs will be targeted for all of the UCCM communities. Involvement with the youth was one of themes consistently identified with the local community surveys, and the Service is pleased to have begun work in this area.

The UCCM Anishnaabe Police Service will also strive to conduct marine patrols during the summer months to promote safe boating, which again will be made possible through the use of the UCCM Auxiliary volunteer members. Unfortunately, there are not enough officers in the Service to permit assignments to marine patrol on a regular basis, as the need for front line officers for regular duty cannot be compromised. Beaudin added, the UCCM Anishnaabe Police look forward to implementing these ideas, together with other agencies who have common goals in promoting safer and healthier communities.

Town Upset with Support Given by MTA
Tom Sasvari

GORE BAY – Gore Bay town council has raised concerns with a recent motion passed by the Manitoulin Tourism Association, (MTA) which it feels is taking sides with another municipality. �Why is the MTA involved in a political decision? I would like to see their mandate and reason for their decision,� stated Mayor Ruby Croft. At an MTA meeting in January, members raised concerns with a decision by the provincial government to relocate the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines office from Mindemoya to Gore Bay.

It was suggested if enough fuss is raised by Central Manitoulin Township as well as groups and individuals around the Island, the ministry might reconsider its decision. MTA president Rick Rusk cautioned members it wouldn�t be a good idea for the MTA to send a letter of concern with the relocation of the ministry office, pointing out both Gore Bay and Central Manitoulin are members of the MTA. However, he said it would be appropriate if individual members wanted to send letters of concern.

After further discussion, the MTA passed a motion asking that any ministries with offices located on Manitoulin being considered for relocation, first consider the impact moving them will have on small communities being affected. This motion was forwarded to Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown. �Gore Bay and the surrounding municipalities suffered a loss when the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) office was moved from Gore Bay to Mindemoya a little while ago,� stated Croft. �I would like a little clarification on the MTA mandate,� she said. A letter will be sent from Gore Bay to the MTA asking for clarification on its mandate and relaying its concerns the association supported one municipality over another.

Town Sets Up Millenium Committee
Tom Sasvari

GORE BAY – The Town of Gore Bay will look into possible funding for the construction of shuffleboard and lawn bowling courts. As part of the International Year of Older Persons (IYOP) the town has been considering different projects it could take part in.

Mayor Ruby Croft told council at a meeting last week she had received a letter from local resident Marv Woods. �The ideas he had for us include two great projects, building a double shuffleboard court outside, as well as a lawn bowling court. He pointed out the seniors could participate in these activities and would be out in the fresh air and get exercise with this.� As well, these are the type of activities husband and wives can take part in.

In his letter, Woods said there would also be enhanced business created through boaters who would have two more activities to take part in while in Gore Bay. There could also be memberships created for the shuffleboard and lawn bowling clubs which could be used for upkeep of the facilities. Croft noted there is funding available through the IYOP and Millennium program for the enhancement of tourism. Applications can be made for funding of these initiatives as well as the Adopt a Book Program which the town has also been looking into.

The town has land available for shuffleboard and lawn bowling courts, and basically all that is required is for someone to design the courts and labour, council was told. Councillor Wes Bentley pointed out there is property available on the north side of the towns tennis courts. “It would be nice to see something like this for seniors in the area,� stated councillor Harold Ednie.

A motion was passed by council to apply for funding under both programs. Under the Adopt a Book Program funding is provide to purchase a variety of library books for the benefit of the public. A label could be placed on the books indicating, �the town of Gore Bay has donated this book to celebrate the International Year of Older Persons and to pay tribute to their seniors.� Councillor Henk Pel said the town would probably receive a total of 20 books under this program.

In a related item, council decided to set up a Millennium Committee to look at the projects discussed as well as other initiatives. �This is an an Island-wide committee looking at things to be done across the Island, but if we want to set up our own committee maybe we could perhaps coincide our activities with the BIA (Business Improvement Association). A lot of other communities will be looking at similar projects as we are,� explained clerk Joyce Foster.

A committee was set up with some of council to be participants. As well as other projects, this committee will investigate further the proposals for the shuffleboard-lawn bowling courts and the Adopt a Book program.

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