Scugog is hoping a $30,000 investment will improve cellular reception and internet connectivity at two of its main facilities.
In a report to councillors included in the May 17 agenda, Becky Jamieson, the township’s clerk, requested $30,000 in unbudgeted funds for improvements at the municipal office and Scugog Community Recreation Centre (SCRC) to access better cellular and internet service for both staff and customers.
“The municipal office and the SCRC are two key facilities which have a number of staff that require technology for their jobs, in addition to significant visits from the public and other users,” wrote Jamieson. “Staff have experienced issues with connectivity at the municipal office and the Scugog Community Recreation Centre as well as with equipment compatibility for some older hardware.”
“There is poor cellular reception in the basement of the municipal office which impedes staff’s ability to do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” the clerk added.
There are seven full-time staff working in the basement, as well as several part-time employees and summer students. What’s more, there’s also boardroom and main staff lunchroom where proper internet access is limited.
“The lack of cell reception creates a health and safety concern should an emergency situation occur within the facility,” Jamieson said. “When an incident occurs on one of the ice pads, or in parts of the facility where there is no or limited cell reception, staff must go to the main front doors to be able to make a call from their cellphone for assistance. This is a concern when immediate action is needed.
“Visitors to public facilities have become (used) to a reasonable level of access to the internet and cell coverage to allow them to remain connected and allow access to normal business functions when required. This has been a determining factor for potential renters in terms of attracting some events and hall rentals,” she added.
After a consultation with the township’s cellphone vendor, it was suggested that Scugog spend $9,220 for three cellular boosters and four antennas at the SCRC. It also recommended one cellular booster and two antennas at the municipal office.
To ensure better access to the internet for users and visitors at the SCRC, it was recommended that fibre internet be installed at the facility at a cost not expected to exceed $10,000.
Jamieson also requested another $10,000 to replace other outdated IT equipment.
At the end of their brief discussion on Jamieson’s report, councillors agreed to take $30,000 from the township’s systems and security contingency reserve fund, which was created in 2022.
Recently, councillors agreed to transfer $250,000 from Scugog’s 2021 operating budget surplus to the new reserve account.