Rob Potter — Blue Mountains councillor

I am Rob Potter and I’m a candidate for councillor in The Blue Mountains. I serve on council now, having been appointed June 29, to fill a vacancy on council.

My background is primarily in the community newspaper business as editor of the Courier-Herald and its predecessor, the Valley Courier, for a total of about 28 years. I have also worked in municipal government, filling in as communications and economic development co-ordinator for The Blue Mountains in 2009-2010.

I have a long and varied history in community service including being founding president of the Marsh Street Centre, a member of the steering committee that brought the Craigleith Heritage Depot project to fruition, and serving on several municipal committees including the CAUSE program, the Sustainable Path steering committee and the attainable housing committee in its early years. I’ve also been involved in Thornbury Community Theatre, minor sports, Relay for Life and others.

My professional and volunteer works have taken me to every corner of The Blue Mountains and allowed me opportunities to engage with people in all sectors.

I am running for council because I believe my background and experience will serve the citizens of our community well as we move into a challenging term. There are lots of issues to deal with including:

• Improving communications so that the public receive information early in the process and have a full understanding of what the town is planning and how it will be carried out and funded.

• A new approach to economic development, that supports not only the existing agricultural and tourism sectors but encourages new opportunities.

• A major effort to diversify our housing stock with a view to making attainable housing available for young workers and young families at rents and prices they can afford.

• Protecting our shoreline from any effort to “urbanize” Highway 26 by widening it.

Contact me at PO Box 365, Thornbury, Ont., N0H 2P0, or , or at . My website is

Basic high-speed internet lacking for Midland, Penetanguishene residents

More than 88 per cent of north Simcoe residents do not have access to basic high-speed internet, according to a recent broadband analysis.

A study of area broadband networks, conducted in part by the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation, shows that the majority of residents in the region are underserved when it comes to high-speed internet.

“The question is not whether you have high-speed internet, but whether you have appropriate high-speed internet that is at a speed and a level that meets the needs of the public,” said Rob McPhee, who led the analysis project.

In 2011 the CRTC said all Canadians should have access to minimum download speeds of five Mbps and upload speeds of one Mbps. In 2016 this standard changed and minimum download speeds of 50 Mbps and upload speeds of 10 Mbps are now required.

The report states that a total of 88 per cent of permanent residents, 70 per cent of seasonal residents and 94 per cent of commercial buildings in north Simcoe do not have internet that meets the latest CRTC standards. Of those, 22 per cent of permanent residents, 33 per cent of seasonal residents and 21 per cent of commercial buildings don’t have access to internet that meets 2011 standards, let alone the latest service standards.

“When you look at it nationally, communities in the North Simcoe region ranked between 113 and 167 out of 168,” said McPhee. “The north Simcoe region is in the bottom 25th percentile of high speed internet connectivity.”

Beausoleil First Nation ranks second last in all of Canada in regard to quality of high-speed internet, with 100 per cent of residents unable to access 2016 service standards and over 50 per cent receiving internet that fails to meet 2011 standards.

“Our aim with this report is to seek out infrastructure builds through SWIFT (Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Network),” said Chris McLaughlin, general manager of the North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation. “We are going to be approaching them and trying to work with them to see if our region can be one of the first with some sort of project through the fund.”