A group of East Kootenay residents says installing a cell phone tower west of Kimberley would shave off response times in life-or-death situations.
The St Mary Valley Rural Residents Association turned to city council Monday night, seeking better communications equipment in the valley.
Volunteer Tim Comishin says a new cell phone tower would give residents and backcountry enthusiasts easier access to emergency crews.
“People like police, search and rescue, ambulance services, even common communication between people who live out here or people utilizing the area are going to have longer periods of time in which services could be provided to them,” Comishin says.
Comishin says there have been a number of fires and other accidents in the valley where first responders were either delayed or unable to be reached due to spotty coverage.
“Fires have occurred with no availability of communication with services. Police have situations where they have not been able to get contact or communication back into the communities,” Comishin says. “There has been several accidents with snowmobiles, skiers, swimming, fishing and things like that.”
He says political pressure could help speed up a response from Telus on this issue.
Comishin says cell service is non-existent on forest service roads and often unavailable on the main highway.
– St Mary Valley Rural Residents Association Volunteer Tim Comishin
– Jeff Johnson