TV re-broadcasting to face scrutiny

How many people in the Clearwater and Vavenby still use the television re-broadcasting system?

How many people in the Clearwater and Vavenby still use the television re-broadcasting system?

District of Clearwater and Thompson-Nicola Regional District presently pay about $30,000 per year to operate the system.

Now they would like to know how many people actually use it.

Not too many years ago the re-broadcast system was pretty well the only way to get television in this area, and it seemed nearly every house had a TV antenna on its roof.

Now, with cable and satellite more available, fewer and fewer are using it.

At the same time, Mayor John Harwood said at a town council meeting on Feb. 4, replacement parts for the system are getting more expensive and harder to come by.

A quote put the cost of upgrading the system at $55,000.

The system often goes down temporarily and when it does, usually only one or two calls are received, the mayor said.

A survey done in 2005 found there were at least 124 households using the re-broadcast system at that time, chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx said.

Cost of operating the system is split 60/40 between District of Clearwater and TNRD Area A (Wells Gray Country).

Council voted to send a letter to the Wells Gray Country services committee to begin a process that would gather public input on whether to continue operating the TV re-broadcasting system.

According to Wells Gray Country director Tim Pennell, users tell him that the three channels offered on the system often are not working or provide a poor signal.

“Due to licensing and technology changes my best guess is costs will double in the next few years. Also, via federal legislation, low cost satellite packages are now available,” Pennell said.