A far-reaching Internet network through Pemberton, the valley and into Birken could be a reality if local company Base Technology proceeds with its plans.
At the regular Tuesday, April 11 Village of Pemberton (VOP) council meeting, Base Technology executive director Davin Peterson sought a letter of support from elected officials to proceed with a funding request with the federal government.
Peterson said the deadline to apply for the funding is April 20 and although he didn't say how much his company was seeking, he is hopeful the pieces will come together in order for the area to have faster, cheaper Internet service.
"This is exciting," Peterson told council. "Customers will be able to get service that is 10 times faster than before."
Peterson explained that the necessary funding would allow the Whistler company to implement the backbone for the service, then loop into area residences and businesses, including those in the industrial park.
As well, Peterson said that with new service, the door would open for new jobs.
"By providing this service, Pemberton will be able to take advantage of training for tech industry," Peterson said. "We're an active part of the B.C. tech industry. We'd be looking to hire more people in the corridor."
Base could crack the Telus stranglehold on the area, and Peterson said Internet service is projected to cost about $64.95 monthly for a 10-megabit speed.
Once funding is in place, Peterson said Base hopes to get the service up and running within a year. Council voted to support Base Technology with the requested letter.
Friendship Bridge build moves ahead
VOP council broke for a quick in-camera meeting to vote on the Request for Proposal for the area Friendship Bridge, which was awarded to North Vancouver-based Surespan.
Surespan's bid is $986,474.80. The VOP had received a recent $500,000 grant for BikeBC, plus $500,000 from Innergex in 2014, a $369,000 gas-tax grant from the federal government in 2012, plus about $50,000 in other community funding — for trail and bridge construction.
The bridge is a crucial element in a trail that will connect the village and the Lil'wat Nation with a safe route that parallels Highway 99 for a stretch. The bridge will be steel and concrete, and should require no maintenance other than inspections every two years.