Summerside defends smart grid spending12/18/2012
Several Summerside city councillors spoke out at the monthly council meeting Monday night against a recent editorial in the city newspaper the Journal-Pioneer.
The column brought attention to a recent vote on the so-called smart grid project. The smart grid will link residents to the city wind-power system, and allow residents to automatically take advantage of inexpensive electricity produced when the wind is blowing. The city recently approved another phase of what could ultimately be a multi-million project to lay its own fibre-optic cable network.
The editorial was critical of council for not doing enough to see if a partnership could be established with EastLink or Bell Aliant. The newspaper also suggested the decision to go ahead without a partnership was a done deal before it even hit the floor of council.
That bothered deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall.
"I had called, probably shouldn't have, but I called to see if there was any of these companies had submitted anything, and they're showing no interest," said MacDougall.
"I never had my mind made up until I could confirm it myself that nobody was coming to the table. So I just wanted to clarify that because it really bothers me."
Those thoughts were also echoed last night by fellow councillors' Jim Steele and Ron Dowling, who also voted for the city to lay its own fibre, despite the fact Bell Aliant already has fibre connecting most homes in Summerside.