By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber has started digging around a grant to expand and improve public Internet connectivity in the M.D. of Taber Park.
In looking at the Community Foundation Grant, the grant provides between $5,000 and $250,000 in funding through Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.
Eligible projects must fulfill criteria including being submitted by an eligible organization, responsible for needs arising from COVID-19, creates/adapts public spaces, or programming/services for public spaces in the public interest, demonstrates consideration of and connections within the community, serves the general public or a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, or falls within the Healthy Communities Initiative theme.
The themes are projects that seek to create safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and providing a digital solution to a community problem.
“The notification for the second round of this grant process for this funding stream came through our email a couple of weeks ago. We did a quick brainstorming session on potential scenarios that we could consider in terms of a worthy application,” explained CAO Arlos Crofts at council’s May 25 meeting. “Kind of where we landed was potentially trying to address the lack of Internet connectivity in the M.D. Park and approaching it from that perspective. In terms of developing the actual grant application, they outline the three themes that are important to the funding to the purpose of their grant program and we will do our best to tell the story that meets their requirements as well as the requirements that we’re looking to address in the M.D. of Taber Park as well.”
The second round of grant applications have a due date of June 25, 2021.
The first intake concluded on March 9.
Administration’s report states “The proposed project for the M.D. of Taber focuses on the first theme — ‘Safe and vibrant public spaces’. Providing public Internet in the M.D. of Taber Park would encourage residents to spend more time outside, and would facilitate more outdoor gatherings to increase pandemic safety in the community.”
With this being a problem for a while now, administration explained this would be a good avenue to go down to fix the issues that many have with Internet connectivity when in the park.
“I do think it is something we’ve struggled with in the past in terms of getting reliable connectivity down there. So this might give us an opportunity to spend elevated amounts to try to address it better,” stated Crofts.
Council asked if this would address cell phone connections down at the park as well.
“It could, yeah. We could look at some of that,” answered Crofts. “There was some efforts that Jason (Bullock, director of agricultural services) and Bryce (Surina, director of GIS and IT) collaborated on just last summer. It has actually improved that a little bit, so there is a little bit more enhanced cell phone connectivity down there. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is better than it was. We’d look at connectivity in general.”
A motion to prepare and submit an application was carried unanimously.