The federal government, through ACOA’s Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), is providing $62,500 to develop broadband Internet infrastructure and support business growth for the high density tourism area within the resort municipality. The province, through the department of economic development and tourism, is contributing $20,832 to the initiative.
Local stakeholders in the industry have committed to financing a portion, while the resort municipality will contribute $11,668 from collected gas tax.
Eastlink, which won the bid for the work, says the connections are expected to begin this summer.
The upgrades will cover Route 6 from Bayview into the community of Stanley Bridge, a portion of Reid Road and Seawood Estates.
The announcement was made during a news conference by Wayne Easter, Malpeque MP, and Heath MacDonald, P.E.I. minister of Economic Development and Tourism.
Matthew Jelley, chair of the resort municipality, said that “tourism is the key economic driver in this area, and that is why the resort municipality continues to work together to make things happen to better position our businesses to succeed.”
Jelley said that access to high-speed Internet is no longer a perk of a travel destination, it’s an expectation of travellers and “to remain competitive, this project was a priority of our community and we’re pleased to receive support from both levels of government.”
Tourism is a way of life in the municipality , where a year-round population of 250 can swell up to 10,000 summer residents, supporting 160 businesses in peak season.
A news release issued after the announced, said that over the next five years all six regional development agencies, including ACOA, will invest a total of $1.5 billion to strengthen innovation capacity and economic growth in each region of the country.
Kim Champion, accounts manager at Eastlink, said "This past year alone, Eastlink expanded our core fibre-based Internet service to Stanley Bridge, Brackley, Harrington, Hyde Point Rd/Rte 19 area, Upper Meadowbank Rd/TCH area, and Blue Shank Road, and now, through this partnership, Seawood Estates/Cavendish West."