The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board has taken an important step towards its goal of improving broadband connectivity across the region by setting up a subsidiary corporation to deliver the Connected Coast project.
At a Board meeting on June 20, Directors passed a bylaw to incorporate the Strathcona Connected Coast Network Corporation (SCCNC). The corporation will operate as a stand-alone corporation, reporting to one shareholder, the SRD Board. SCCNC will consist of a skills-based board and senior leadership team to construct and operate the backbone infrastructure.
“Given the scope, complexity and magnitude of the Connected Coast project, we have been advised that the best way to approach the project is through the creation of a subsidiary. This will minimize operational risk for the SRD while allowing the Board to retain control of the project,” says SRD Board Chair Michele Babchuk. “The excitement around the region for the project is building as people are starting to realize how life-changing this project will be for our rural and remote communities. The SRD Board will start the task of appointing the SCCNC Board over the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing the corporation stand up.”
Delivering broadband infrastructure to these communities requires an innovative, broad collaborative approach and the SRD is excited to embark on the project.
“We are happy that the Board continues to support the steps necessary to deliver this project. In addition to establishing SCCNC, earlier this month the Board passed a bylaw to create a region-wide broadband service and a loan authorization bylaw. Although this project is fully-funded through grants from the federal and provincial government and Indigenous Services Canada, these bylaws enable the SRD to borrow up to $6 million dollars if required to complete this project and sustain any short-term operating needs.” says Victoria Smith, SRD Strategic Initiatives Manager.
The SCCNC Board will include the SRD’s Chief Administrative Officer as the shareholder’s representative. The remaining four SCCNC Board appointments will be skills based, with the SRD Board retaining the authority to appoint and remove SCCNC Directors. Once the SCCNC Board is in place, expected later this summer, one of the first tasks will be to hire the SCCNC senior management team.
The Connected Coast project will construct and operate a subsea fibre-optic network that will run from north of Prince Rupert, to Haida Gwaii, south along coastal BC to Vancouver, then around Vancouver Island. The cable will allow up to 154 communities, including 56 First Nations communities with the opportunity to connect to high-speed internet.