Hornby and Denman Island residents have voted overwhelmingly in favour of high-speed internet.
In Saturday’s referendum, along with advance voting and mail ballots, 1,192 people voted in favour of the project while 81 residents said no. Voter turnout was 55 per cent of the estimated eligible electors.
The total project costs are about $7.6 million, 90 per cent of which will be covered by grants. A community contribution of 10 per cent ($760,000) is required as part of the grant funding criteria.
Residents will pay about $40 a year for 10 years, based on a property assessed at $500,000.
“Internet has been dismal on Hornby and Denman for years,” said Daniel Arbour, Area A director of the Comox Valley Regional District. “This result will bring fibre to every home and ensure world class telecommunication for the islands for decades.
“In terms of the incredible level of support at 94 per cent, one element of the project that may have rallied almost everyone is that the communities will receive 20 per cent of the net profit from subscriptions in perpetuity. This is what happens when communities and governments all work together for the greater good, and it motivates me to aim for the same on other issues in Area A.”
Arbour thanks the Denman and Hornby Internet Committee for its hard work, and the “championing” efforts of Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns.
He also said the initiative would not be possible without the foresight of the Strathcona Regional District and CityWest, which pushed for laying a sea cable that will link remote communities around Vancouver Island and the Central Coast.
On Dec. 7, the CVRD board will consider adopting bylaws to move the project forward.