ANTIGONISH: During the regular monthly council meeting on February 19, Antigonish County passed a motion to file a notice of withdraw from the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN), following their decision to re-sign for another one-year period last month.

Warden Owen McCarron said following the meeting the motion is a formality like last year, giving one-year’s notice to withdraw.

“I think it’s important for us to see some initiatives that are good for the region, but are also good for Antigonish County.”

During the county’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, which took place prior to their council meeting, ESREN Chief Executive Officer John Beaton spoke about broadband and cellular networks, something McCarron said council wants to see an emphasis on, noting these are the things that will actually give residents that are facing these challenges an opportunity.

“We’re hopeful and we have a few other things that we’re going to be laying out over the next couple of months in terms of expectations but we feel ESREN has heard us loud and clear,” he said. “I think that there’s a willingness now to make sure we work collaboratively to make it a better operation.”

McCarron said now they’re meeting with ESREN on a monthly basis so going forward they’ll be current on what’s happening with ESREN, and that will build the relationship stronger, which council feels will be beneficial for the whole area.

“The province has certainly come to the table on the financial piece going forward, and that’s important, but as for the governance piece, we still feel council members should be on the board,” he said. “The province hasn’t changed its mind on that yet but we’re not going to stop pushing for that because we think if it’s going to be effective we need that representation when the local government is making a big contribution, than we need to have some say at that table.”

But for now, McCarron said they can sit at the table in an ex-officio capacity but they’re going to continue to work to have their voice to actually be able to vote around the table as well.