Poor cell service impacting safety for home care workers: report

GUYSBOROUGH: Once again, the issue of cell service was raised around the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council table and senior staff are demanding answers immediately.

As Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche provided council her report from the emergency management office committee, during the municipality’s regular council meeting on Nov. 17, she advised one of the committee’s directors has a major concern in regards to safety.

“She also works through home care, and she brought up the (concern of) ladies that are out in the night, especially on those side roads and dark roads, are having a really hard time with cell service,” Peitzsche said. “We have these women on dark highways and rural roads, and (if one) got in trouble tying to help anybody that needs home care, and here they get stranded with no cell service.”

Peitzsche indicated MODG has been stressing their concerns over connectivity throughout the municipality for a while, and they want it to remain a priority, so she decided to bring it back to open council, especially with the recent change in the provincial government.

“Maybe we should get a hold of Bell, and write them a letter to see if they can have a look at it,” Peitzsche said. “We don’t want our home care workers all on these roads in the middle of winter, and can’t get any cell service.”

The deputy warden issued a motion to draft and send a letter to all service providers and Guysborough-Tracadie MLA Greg Morrow, informing them of the municipality’s and home care’s concerns for their frontline health care workers.

“We’ve had this ongoing for how many years, and the government keeps throwing millions and millions and millions of dollars,” Peitzsche said. “And we still can’t seem to get it fixed.”

Following the meeting, Warden Vernon Pitts told reporters it doesn’t matter to him if its someone hiking the Trans Canada Trail, or hunting, or fishing across the municipality, the cell service needs to improve.

“This day and age, there’s no rhyme or reason why we are not fully covered by cell service,” Pitts said. “I don’t see anyone rushing forward; our numbers aren’t high enough to really warrant it, but I don’t see any of the proponents coming to the municipality and saying ‘Hey we have an idea here, why don’t you partner with us.’”

And unfortunately, he said, the municipality has never been offered that opportunity and explained there are certain things the municipality could do.

One of the warden’s recommendations, which he has been suggesting for years, is placing another tower in Lundy, as all the fire and emergency service bounce off the Lundy tower.

“MODG can’t move this file, it’s going to take our MLA, and our MP,” Pitts said. “Let’s get down and sit at the same table to move this file forward. We’re talking Fred Flintstone type stuff here, this day and age there is no need of it.”