On behalf of Ward 6 Counc. Angelo Bentivegna and myself, we want to thank each Ward 6 resident who attended the recent Town Hall event on the Ward 6 Rural Broadband Internet Project and followed up with your questions and feedback.
We understand the concerns that have been raised around the timelines for this project, and the multiple accountabilities among various agencies and the applicant. A regular project update exchange will help everyone know where this project is at, and who has got the ball, moving forward to its expected July 2022 completion.
This will be the first of regular project status updates we’ll be publishing, supplemented by information provided by City of Burlington staff, agencies and the applicant Internet Access Solutions/Standard Broadband (IASL). City staff will meet internally weekly, and connect with external agencies and the applicant to keep this project moving forward.
These updates will include a one-page project progress summary chart that we are currently developing.
The updates will be supplemented by monthly informal meetings with rural residents, to which IASL/Standard Broadband will also be invited.
INFORMAL RESIDENT MEETING:
The first meeting is proposed for March 10 (time to be confirmed).
At our first meeting together, we will discuss a regular schedule of meetings from now until July 2022.
The Mayor, Ward Councillor, City Manager and staff met this week.
The updates from that meeting are as follows:
- We discussed the matter of the on-site arborist during project construction.
- All applicants for construction projects that may impact city trees are required to provide a tree preservation plan and arborist submission. However, early in this process, the City waived that requirement to save the applicant time. The City worked on a plan agreed to by IASL/Standard Broadband to have an arborist visit the site as required as construction begins on various legs of the project. (They would not remain onsite for the duration of construction.) They have the option to hire their own arborist for this work or use the City’s third-party contractor that the City has secured at a preferred rate.
- The Mayor and Ward Councillor are working with staff on options to waive fees for the arborist and Municipal Consent permit. Waiving of fees needs Council approval and the earliest opportunity to do this is on March 22. This motion does not impact the timing of the project.
- Town Hall:
- The recording of the town hall is online now on the City’s Rural Internet Installation page: https://www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/rural-internet-installation.asp. The Q-and-A from the session, as well as additional questions that have come in, are still being prepared. We will post the answers we have in the next day, with additional answers to questions we are waiting on to come when we have those answers.
- Anyone who has subscribed to the page will receive an alert when new information is posted.
- Staff are in the process of creating a Project Progress Summary including detailed timelines, key activities and deliverables, by agency/individual that will be regularly updated in our communications to residents as this project moves forward. In addition to the City and agencies, we will be working with IASL to also include a high-level workplan for the project construction.
WHERE WE ARE NOW:
The applicant (IASL) must receive a permit from the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) before any development/construction can begin.
The external agencies are waiting for revised submissions from IASL/Standard Broadband so the NEC can write a recommendation report. IASL has said these materials are expected next week.
Halton Region’s role is to issue a separate Municipal Consent Permit for Regional Roads. They are also ready to issue their permits once the NEC permit has been approved.
Conservation Halton (CH) issues permits for areas within CH regulation. A permit application will need to be submitted and reviewed and can be issued shortly after the NEC permit is issued.
The City of Burlington’s Role is to issue Municipal Consent, Road Occupancy and Load Exemption permits. The Municipal Consent permit is ready to go once the NEC/CH permits are issued.
Once the NEC receives confirmation from the Region that all requirements have been met, they will be in a position to write a report of recommendation. They are not foreseeing this application would conflict with any policies, therefore, will not need a decision by the Commission, and can be signed off by the director.
Approval is subject to a two-week appeal period. If the project is appealed by any party, including adjacent residents, that can add months or years to processing times.
In a best-case scenario: if the expected materials are submitted next week do not require any changes and factoring time for resubmissions, NEC report/approval, and the two-week appeal period, this step could be completed by March. All agencies have begun the required reports already so once everything is in place, they can turn around final permits as quickly as possible.
The City’s and the Region’s Municipal Consent permits are ready to go once the NEC/CH permits are issued.
Per the applicant’s webpage, once permits are issued IASL/Standard Broadband will:
- finalize and post their construction schedule on their webpage; and
- order locates for underground utilities, which can take 2-3 weeks.
Per the applicant’s webpage, once locates are issued, IASL/Standard Broadband will:
- bring in equipment; and
- begin construction that is expected to take three months.
Please know that we are all working toward the same shared goal of ensuring rural broadband for our residents as soon as possible.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
Ward 6 Counc. Angelo Bentivegna