Sept. 10, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The three Maritime provinces have agreed to explore the development of a mobile radio communications system serving New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The goal is to have a Maritime-wide mobile communication system in place in 2011.
Supply and Services Minister Jack Keir; Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Murray K. Scott; and Carolyn Bertram, minister of communities, cultural affairs and labour for Prince Edward Island, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to pursue development of the system. The MOU took effect Aug. 31 and will run for four years.
"By forming this partnership, we are taking a team approach toward exploring a new and modern mobile radio communications system for the Maritimes," said Keir. "There is great potential in this agreement to share specialized infrastructure, to reduce our costs and to create a seamless, integrated system that strengthens our ability to respond to emergencies in each province and across the region. Our collaborative approach also demonstrates that this is a significant initiative worthy of funding support from Ottawa."
At the moment, each Maritime province operates an independent mobile radio communications system. All three are actively involved in renewing these systems for their respective emergency response organizations.
"I am pleased to work with my counterparts in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to formalize our partnership and explore federal funding for this initiative," said Bertram. "A Maritime-wide public safety radio system would not only benefit our province as we explore options to replace the mobile radio and pager system currently in use, it will increase efficiency and enable us to provide seamless emergency communications among our neighbouring provinces."
"Nova Scotia is a leader in the development of radio communications systems for first responders, and we're pleased to join New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to explore the feasibility of a Maritime-wide system," said Scott. "A shared system would have many benefits, including helping to ensure our first responders can continue to communicate, even when they cross Maritime borders."
The MOU signifies a tri-province partnership to explore a common solution for mobile radio communications. This partnership may include collaborating on the procurement, and sharing the cost and operation of a next generation, inter-provincial system that will lead to greater efficiencies and better safety. The provinces will also work together in exploring federal funding to support the initiative.
Under the agreement, a working group, made up of one representative from each province, will consult with stakeholders and develop a plan to bring the project forward to government.. The multi-million-dollar project is expected to help thousands of public safety and public works staff and personnel in delivering emergency services in the field.
The MOU was spurred by the Maritime premiers, who decided at the Council of Atlantic Premiers in May 2008 to direct their officials to explore the development of the new communications system.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Judy Cole, communications officer, Department of Supply and Services, Province of New Brunswick, 506-457-7903; Cathy MacIsaac, director of communications, Department of Transportation and Public Works, Province of Nova Scotia, 902-424-8978; Connie McNeill, communications officer, Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Province of Prince Edward Island, 902-368-5829.