Lighting Up The Coast

kil tlaats ‘gaa speaking at the Connected Coast press conference Wednesday morning. (l-r) Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services; kil tlaats ‘gaa (Peter Lantin), President of the Haida Nation; Jinny Sims, British Columbia’s Minister of Citizens’ Services and Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast.

Tanisha Salomons

“At this moment, I’d like to say ‘good morning’ to everyone on Haida Gwaii … with a five to 10-second delay,” quipped President of the Haida Nation kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin earlier today.

Kil tlaats ‘gaa was speaking from xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Musqueam, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory in Vancouver, where he joined federal and provincial government ministers in announcing a major new investment that will bring high-speed internet to 154 rural and remote communities along the coast, including Haida Gwaii.

Citing improved educational, health and economic outcomes through high-speed connection, kil tlaats ‘gaa said the investment means that Haida Gwaii’s youth will be met with greater opportunities. “Young people can really think about staying in our communities and imagine a full and stimulating livelihood.”

Jennifer Rice, North Coast MLA and BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, echoed these sentiments in welcoming the combined investment of $45.5 million that will connect coastal communities with new or improved high-speed internet.

“For too long people living along BC’s coast and Haida Gwaii have been forced to live in technological isolation which has affected their ability to communicate and do business in a digital world. This important investment will give coastal communities and First Nations better access to key services like healthcare and education, bring new economic opportunities in tourism and other industries, and improve our ability to respond to emergencies throughout the region.”

The investment will provide for 3.5 million metres of subsea fibre-optic cable that will encircle Vancouver Island and connect with the Sunshine Coast, kxeen Prince Rupert, and ultimately Haida Gwaii. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

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