Algonquin Highlands is entering an agreement with Rogers for the installation of equipment at the Dorset tower that will improve cell service in the township.
Back in July Rogers reps came to council looking for an agreement to place equipment on the tower temporarily for a maximum of three months to improve cell service during the “seasonal recreational summer period.”
A coverage map provided at the time seemed to benefit mostly the adjacent Lake of Bays township and Mayor Carol Moffatt asked Rogers staff to come back with a plan that included greater benefit for Algonquin Highlands.
During a Sept. 20 meeting Rogers staff did just that returning with a plan that included more permanent equipment and greater coverage for Algonquin Highlands residents.
“We’re looking for a permanent structure as opposed to a temporary structure” Omar Lababidi municipal relations specialist for Rogers told councillors. A new coverage map also showed much expanded coverage within the borders of Algonquin Highlands.
“There’s substantial improvement for both municipalities especially as you can see here your municipality” Lababidi said.
“That’s much better” said Moffatt.
The installation will include antennas affixed to the tower as well as an equipment cabinet – essentially a large metallic box – to be stationed at a discrete location on the tower property.
The amount of electricity at the tower property is not sufficient to accommodate the installation and new hydro infrastructure will be installed at the site at the expense of Rogers.
The company also provided non-interference confirmation a report indicating the set-up will not interfere with existing signals in the area.
As for the contract itself Rogers will pay Algonquin Highlands $500 per month for use of the property increasing at a rate of two per cent annually. The contract is for 10 years with options for three extensions of five years each.
As for the work “we need to think about fall colours and the busy season” said parks rec and trails manager Chris Card. Thousands of tourists flock to the tower each fall to take in the autumn foliage.
Card indicated that no work would begin until Oct. 29.