Broadband a priority for Smoky region

But many other projects are keeping Smoky River Economic Development busy

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A project to expand and enhance broadband services in areas around the Falher and McLennan region is a top priority for Smoky River Economic Development.

Recently, SRED filed a grant application for funding a project to enhance broadband connection/service in Jean Cote north of Falher and Guy south of Falher.

“We hope to get it in 2021,” says M.D. of Smoky River Reeve Robert Brochu, who chairs the SRED board.

“We’ve been working on a broadband project for the whole region for two years and we’re getting closer to funding.

“We want to get as many people hooked up for the lowest cost.”

SRED is committed to support new business in the region.

“We work on projects every day,” Brochu says.

“Every time somebody comes up with an idea and comes to us, we work with them and we help and support business.”

Another project is to attract a hemp-processing plant to the Smoky River region.

“Hemp is difficult because it’s a new industry,” SRED economic development officer Diane Chiasson says.

“It’s an ongoing project and it takes time.”

Potential opportunity to locate an industrial hemp processing facility in the Peace region was presented at an information meeting April 17, 2018 in Triangle, west of High Prairie.

Residents and farmers were updated about the Northern Alberta Hemp Processing Industry [NAHPI] initiative project, to locate a plant in the region to enhance the flourishing industry in Alberta.

The location for a facility would be decided by industry, Chiasson is quoted in the South Peace News in the story published April 25, 2018.

A canola-crushing plant is another project on the go for SRED.

“We completed a business plan several years ago for a canola-crushing plant in the Smoky River region,” Brochu says.

“Once in a while, we get approached from companies about opportunities.

“It’s ongoing.”

Daycare for children is another project that SRED is active in.

SRED is assisting the non-profit Smoky River Childcare Society to establish a daycare centre for the region.

“They plan to open by the end of June,” Brochu.

However, he notes that could be delayed by restrictions and health orders in the coronavirus pandemic.

SRED was established in 2003 as a partnership of include the M.D. of Smoky River, the Town of Falher, the Town of McLennan, the Village of Donnelly and the Village of Girouxville.

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