Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology Inc. held its second annual general meeting on April 7, 2017 at Cisco Canada’s Toronto Innovation Center, where the organization appointed the next slate of directors and received a tour of the smartest office building in Americas. The 2017 AGM follows a big six months for SWIFT, as the organization began work in making broadband for everyone a reality following the July 2016 funding announcement from the governments of Canada and Ontario of their $180 million combined investment in the project.
Gerry Marshall, Warden of Simcoe County and Chair of the Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, was confirmed as Chair and Bev MacDougall, Councillor at the County of Lambton, was confirmed as Vice Chair. Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO of Georgian College, was confirmed as Treasurer and Bill Van Wyck, President of The W. R. Van Wyck Group Limited, was confirmed as Secretary.
The following representatives were confirmed as Directors:
- Mitch Twolan – Warden, Bruce County
- Randy Hope – Mayor, Chatham-Kent
- George Bridge – Councillor, Wellington County
- Jim Maudsley – Councillor, Middlesex County
- Roger Watt – Councillor, Huron County
- David Mayberry – Warden, Oxford County
- Allan Thompson – Mayor, Town of Caledon
- April Jeffs – Mayor of Wainfleet and Regional Councillor, Niagara Region
- Chief Greg Peters – Delaware Nation at Moraviantown
- Stephen Young – Manager, Information Technology Services, Thames Valley District School Board
- Brent Royce – Director (Huron & Perth), Ontario Federation of Agriculture
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, SWIFT staff, and our partners across the region, I would like to thank our outgoing Directors and support staff for their dedicated service and commitment to building broadband for everyone, and congratulate our new Executive and Directors as we move forward with an exciting year for the project as we work to connect everyone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region,” said Chair Gerry Marshall.
At the regular board meeting that followed the AGM, board members received updates from staff that pointed to an exceptionally busy first year in full operation. From hiring full-time staff to developing comprehensive stakeholder engagement and membership acquisition strategies, the organization is moving confidently toward launching the first stage in the procurement process for the network, with a two-stage Request for Pre-Qualification for service providers anticipated to launch mid-May, 2017.
“Ultra-high speed Internet connectivity is critical to economic development and community well-being for everyone in Southwestern Ontario, Caledon and Niagara Region. SWIFT has made incredible progress since first coming together in 2011,” said Executive Director Geoff Hogan.
“Since successfully securing funding, we’ve worked diligently to bring the project to life over the last year, and the confirmation of this excellent Board of Directors, all takes us another step further in a project that will have a major impact on the region’s current and future vitality,” said Chair Marshall.
The 2017 AGM was held at the Cisco Canada’s Toronto Innovation Center, where board members heard from Dr. Rick Huijbreghts, Vice President, Digital Transformation and Innovation and Ron Gordon, Senior Advisor, City Digitization, about innovation in the broadband economy. By connecting every home, farm, and business, SWIFT will play a vital role in supporting Southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region’s full participation in the digital economy.
The SWIFT Initiative is based on the principle that everyone in Western 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.
*April 13, 2017: An earlier circulated version of this media release noted Bev MacDougall as Warden of Lambton County, George Bridge as Warden of Wellington County and Jim Maudsley as Warden of Middlesex County. Bev MacDougall is now past Warden and serves as a Councillor from Lambton County. George Bridge is now past Warden and serves as a Councillor from Wellington County. Jim Maudsley is now past Warden and serves as a Councillor from Middlesex County. Brent Royce was originally listed as President of the OFA. He is Director (Huron & Perth) for the OFA and serves on the SWIFT Board in that capacity.