The major development activity for the year was the Telecommunities Conference which Chebucto hosted on the Dalhousie Campus from Aug 15 - 18. Planning and preparation for the Conference was carried out by a sixteen person committee which met on a bi-weekly and eventually a weekly basis. Below is a brief overview of the conference.
The Board is pleased to report that as a result of a surplus realized from the conference, it has been possible to hire a part time fund raiser which we hope will result in new revenues to support the growth of our Community Net.
The Development and IP initiatives of CCN have combined efforts to attract the larger non-profit organizations to our site. Our initial efforts have been in the Health sector. We have met with a number of groups - Dal Family Health, Central Regional Health Board, HRM - soliciting their endorsement and support in developing a community health information service on Chebucto. The Central Regional Health Board has agreed to host a meeting of the major Health organizations to explore this further. Chebucto presently had eleven health-related IPs.
Representatives of the Board have met with staff of MT&T to explore a partnership arrangement. Essentially this would mean MT&T would recognize Chebucto's role as the primary community electronic information service and we would provide links to their services.
During the last few months Chebucto has met with the organizing committees of the Community Access sites in Sheet Harbour, Tangier, Middle Musquodobit, North Preston, Beaverbank, Terrance Bay and Eastern Passage. We will continue meeting with these communities to explore opportunities for mutual cooperation. We will also be encouraging other communities in HRM such as Hubbards and Jeddore to apply for CAP funding. In this way it will be possible to provide Internet access to the entire HRM. Staff of HRM are supportive of this activity.
Industry Canada has now launched its Urban CAP program which is designed to provide public access to urban areas (over 50,000 pop). During the year an Urban CAP pilot was awarded to a group working out of the North Branch Library. Chebucto provided support to this group and will be hosting their information. The Urban CAP program could mean up to 75 sites for Metro Halifax. Chebucto will be working with the Technology and Science Secretariat and HRM in developing a proposal for sites in Halifax. This will be a very important development for our Community Net.
In the last federal budget, Industry Canada announced a program to provide support for access for the volunteer sector. Chebucto invited officials involved in the VolNet program to visit Halifax during the week of April 6th. Three meetings were convened with representatives of Government, Community Nets/Access Sites and volunteer groups. We will be working with other communities in the development of a provincial plan for presentation to Industry Canada concerning the role of VolNet in Nova Scotia.
Chebucto has continued to play a role in NSFCN and we are supporting a move to include all CAP sites in the organization. A meeting of the Federation is being planned for June at which the broader role will be discussed.