County upgrades to digital radios for roads department
By Chad Ingram
Published Nov. 29, 2016
Haliburton County will spend just over $100,000 upgrading the radio system for its roads department to a digital format after a decision by county council on Nov. 23.
Among the reasons roads director Craig Douglas gave for the transition were that digital information provides: fact-based evidence for legal claims; real-time vehicle tracking and downloading of digital data; secure channels with fewer dead zones and better clarity; and eliminates monthly fees associated with each vehicle.
“The radios being recommended are capable of both digital and analog operation so they can be programmed to communicate in analog mode to the existing area systems and operate in digital mode on the new system,” a report from Douglas read. “It is just a matter of changing the channels on the radios to allow for communication to the other municipalities.”
While Minden Hills township is also considering a transition to digital radios – “I’m reasonably confident that Minden Hills will be moving ahead with putting this system in all our mobile stuff,” Reeve Brent Devolin said during the meeting – other townships are not at that point.
“We aren’t going to digital radios yet,” said Highlands East Deputy-reeve Suzanne Partridge.
The contract, which will go to Turris Communications Ltd., is for the purchase of the radios and also the installation of the tower hardware.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey was reluctant, questioning why the county would make a $100,000 purchase without testing the equipment first.
“I wouldn’t spend $100,000 if I didn’t try something out on the ground first,” Fearrey said.
“To test it out, we’d have to go to another jurisdiction where the infrastructure is,” Devolin said.
Ultimately, the purchase was approved, with Fearrey and Partridge opposed.
Highlands East Reeve Dave Burton recused himself from the conversation on potential pecuniary interest, since he has a company that supplies GPS units.
The project costs will total $101,500. $80,000 was budgeted for the project and the remainder will come from equipment reserves.