Wildfires near Vita in October

The RM of Hanover would like to join a group of municipalities lobbying for better cell service in the southeast. Reeve Stan Toews says the issue came to a head in October when wildfires torched thousands of hectares of land.

Reeve Toews says "the rural part of Hanover has very good cell service. When we get to the southern and eastern borders, basically the southeast corner it's very sporadic. Sometimes you'll get calls coming through and the next time there's lots of dead areas."

Those dead areas happened to be right at the heart of the October wildfires. "We had a lot of concerns during the wildfires," says Reeve Toews. "Cell service was very cramped and poor in getting out so the firefighters had to rely a lot on texting and their other radios because there was times when they could not communicate with anybody."

Reeve Toews says this is certainly a safety issue for the municipality. "Communication lines have to be open at all times cause especially a wildfire can change so rapidly from one minute to the next."

Immediately following the wildfires the Rural Municipalities of Stuartburn, Piney, La Broquerie and Franklin began working together to try and lobby the provincial and federal governments for better service. Reeve Toews says Hanover would now like to join that group. "Our next step will be to find out where the other municipalities are going and maybe join their lobby. So if we have a bigger force we may get more action from companies and provide better cell service."

Reeve Toews says Hanover has contacted service suppliers in the past, requesting improvements. "The answer is if we spend a lot of money they will put up some towers and provide better service." When asked if spending a lot of money is feasible, the Reeve's response was "not at this point."