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Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. held its first annual general meeting on August 26 and appointed the first full slate of directors to its board. The meeting follows the announcement from the governments of Canada and Ontario of their investment in the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) project. Each government will contribution $90 million each towards building a holistic ultra-high speed fibre optic network for Southwestern Ontario and Niagara Region.

Gerry Marshall, Warden of Simcoe County, was confirmed as Chair and Bev MacDougall, Warden of the County of Lambton, was confirmed as Vice Chair. The following representatives were confirmed as board members:

  • Mitch Twolan – Warden, Bruce County;
  • Randy Hope – Mayor, Chatham-Kent & Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus;
  • George Bridge – Warden, Wellington County;
  • Jim Maudsley – Warden, Middlesex County;
  • Roger Watt – Councillor, Huron County;
  • David Mayberry – Warden, Oxford County;
  • Allan Thompson – Mayor, Town of Caledon;
  • Don McCabe – President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture;
  • Stephen Young – Manager, Information Technology Services, Thames Valley District School Board;
  • Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes – President & CEO, Georgian College; and
  • Bill Van Wyck – President, The W.R. Van Wyck Group Limited

Sonya Prichard (CAO, Dufferin County) was confirmed as Treasurer and Peter Crockett (CAO, Oxford County) was confirmed as Secretary.

The newly elected board got right to work after the annual general meeting and passed motions to:

  • Hire staff and consultants to begin the request for proposal process with providers;
  • Create a stakeholder communications plan;
  • Create an indigenous engagement plan;
  • Hire a legal team;
  • Create a strategy for including the over 100,000 people communities within the region; and
  • Create a plan to solicit local input for locations of SWIFT points of presence in the project area.

“Ultra-high speed Internet connectivity is critical to rural economic development in Southwestern Ontario. The confirmation of this excellent inaugural board of directors takes us another step further in a project that will have a major impact on the region’s current and future vitality,” said Chair Gerry Marshall.

The SWIFT Initiative is based on the principle that everyone in Southwestern Ontario deserves access to high-speed Internet, regardless of the size of their community, their age, education, or where they work. SWIFT will build an affordable, open-access, ultra-high-speed fibre-optic regional broadband network for everyone in Southwestern Ontario and Niagara Region.

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