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Bell/CRTC refuse to allow all County local calling

By Ross Lees
After eight years of trying to get the local calling area expanded, council has decided to hang up on Bell Canada and the CRTC. Calls to and from the northern end of the County (Consecon and Carrying Place) with Trenton phone numbers will continue to be charged long distance rates.
Council had the issue on the committee of the whole agenda upon receiving a letter from Bell indicating the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had ruled that, because one exchange in the County had been deregulated, the County no longer qualified for local calling area expansion under CRTC rules.
Susan Turnbull, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Finances, explained to council, “The CRTC maintains there are enough market alternatives that not everybody uses Bell anymore,” thus making the request redundant. In requesting the issue be removed from their action list, Turnbull explained, “We have more to do than work on this issue.”
The County had established a toll-free number for the residents of Ameliasburgh and area to call Shire Hall on municipal business, spiking at least some of the argument in favour of expanded coverage.
Councillors Janice Maynard and Dianne O’Brien argued the issue should not be dropped.
Maynard wanted to set up a meeting with Mayor John Williams of Quinte West to enlist that municipality’s help in the issue, noting there were many economic implications for both municipalities. O’Brien argued there are many people in Ameliasburgh who have doctors in Picton and it is a long distance call to contact them.
“If we don’t keep pushing for it, we’ll never get it,” O’Brien said.
Councillor Kevin Gale responded with the argument most councillors seemed to accept, when he said, “We’ve beat this horse to death. Sometimes in the battle between David and Goliath, Goliath wins. I say to the people of Ameliasburgh, ‘Let it go. Just close your eyes and let it go.’”
Councillor Brian Marisett concurred with Turnbull’s statement the municipality and its employees had other things to do.
“I think it’s an issue where we have to value staff’s time and pick our battles.”
Councillor Peggy Burris said Bell’s attitude was everyone should be happy as long as they could call Belleville without a long distance charge.

Filed Under: Local News

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