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A 70-km stretch of Highway 14 on Vancouver Island finally gets wireless coverage

The project received $5 million in funding from province and $695,000 from Rogers Communications
A cellphone tower. The Sooke to Port Renfrew cellphone project received nearly $5 million in funding from the province and $695,000 from Rogers Communications. (Shutterstock)

The completion of seven new cell towers has brought cellular service to a previously disconnected 70-kilometre stretch of Highway 14 between Sooke and Port Renfrew.

The project received nearly $5 million in funding from the province and $695,000 from Rogers Communications.

“Government investments in cell connectivity deliver essential infrastructure, ensuring that residents, commuters and tourists can access critical services in case of an emergency and enjoy the benefits of reliable cell service,” Citizens’ Services Minister Lisa Beare said at a press conference in Shirley on Thursday.

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The province announced the project in April 2021 as part of its Connecting British Columbia program and anticipated it would bring cellular service to more than 1,200 homes in Port Renfrew, Shirley, Otter Point, Jordan River and some Pacheedaht First Nation communities.

The towers, which range in height from 40 to 60 metres, encountered several obstacles during construction. The seven sites faced labour and supply-chain challenges and construction delays caused by access issues, powerline construction, and environmental concerns.

Chief Jeff Jones said the Pacheedaht First Nation was pleased to have worked with the province and Rogers Communications in a productive and culturally sensitive manner during the installation of the cell towers and to see the project completed.

“There are challenges in constructing such a network in the rugged terrain of our land, along a potentially hazardous road during bad weather,” Jones said.

He added cellphone connectivity would enhance the quality of life, administration, operations, safety, security and economic development of the greater community of Pacheedaht and Port Renfrew.

Dwight Yochim, chief executive officer of the B.C. Search and Rescue Association, said with extended cellular coverage, lost or injured persons can call for assistance, and search and rescue teams can locate them using GPS technology, reducing search time dramatically.

According to the province, there are 15,000 kilometres of primary, secondary and major highways in B.C. As of last December, 10,800 kilometres have cellular service.

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
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