file photo of the 911 dispatch centre in Windsor, August 12, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

‘Show Me The Money’ Says CK Mayor

The mayor of Chatham-Kent is blasting Canada’s regulatory agency for broadcasting and telecommunications for demanding change but not paying for it.

Randy Hope wants the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to pay for upgrading the current Chatham-Kent Emergency Communication Centre to support fully enhanced 911 services by June 2023.

The CRTC says the move would support wireless phone users who call 911 and improve public safety.

Hope is a member of the police services board and says it should be the CRTC’s responsibility to fund the project.

“The CRTC has a responsibility. It’s nice that we make everybody’s life easier but there are emergency set systems that have been in place in communities and those upgrades are going to cost in order to meet the demands of the public to be safe,” says Hope.

The CRTC says the new networks must be ready to provide next-generation 911 voice services by June 2020 and next generation 911 text messaging services by December 2020.

The CRTC says Canadians could eventually stream video from an emergency incident, send photos of accident damage or a fleeing suspect and send personal medical information, including accessibility needs, which could greatly aid emergency responders.

Text with 911 is already available to Canadians who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired.

Text with 911 is not yet available to the general public.

Hope says the CRTC needs to fund the change.

“The CRTC knows that this is coming and the CRTC should be making sure that there are adequate resources available for those communities to make the transition,” the mayor says.

Hope says it’s a federal government mandate that should take federal and CRTC dollars.

“When we build something in Chatham-Kent we have to make sure we have the reserves set aside in order to deal with replenish and replacement. Why aren’t these guys having the same responsibility?” Hope says.