Saturna Island Property Owners Association
P. O. Box 27, Saturna, British Columbia, V0N 2Y0
March 21, 2011
Mr. Darren Entwistle
President and CEO
555 Robson Street
Dear Mr. Entwistle:
I do hope you remember me: we met in your office a few years ago while I was still Chair of TLC The Land Conservancy and we discussed various environmental issues around Sechelt.
I am writing to you now on behalf of the Saturna Island Property Owners Association. As you may be aware, while Saturna has a small permanent population, we have a significant number of property owners who come during the weekends and summer. It has recently come to our attention that over this past winter, during the re-occurring and sometimes lengthy power outages, phones were out of service for several days on each occurrence on the island's East Point Peninsula.
We understand that restoring power and fixing power lines are not the responsibility of Telus and that with climate change, the weather effects such as wind and heavy rains can be very detrimental to all infrastructure during severe storms. However, not everybody, especially the elderly, has a mobile phone and during a power outage, of course, the internet does not work and mobile phones cannot be recharged. Wireline phones are the most effective communication tool, and in many cases the only way that islanders can contact BC Hydro and emergency services during a power outage. However, on our island, they don't work after a day.
We are told that there are diesel generators and additional batteries that can be installed as backup for phone lines when the power is out on the Gulf Islands. Unfortunately we also were told that no funds are available for these kinds of retrofits for Saturna. For your information there were at least 10 power outages at East Point this past winter and on two occasions, the phones did not work for several days because the power was out for an extended period.
I know I speak for property owners and for our emergency services group when I say that we cannot understand why Telus, which gives so generously to disaster relief elsewhere, does not take care of the basic services of those who rely on Telus during home-made disasters (no matter how small they may appear in the global perspective).
I read with great interest online about the many wonderful emergency response programs your organization assists with around the globe. We offer sincere congratulations to Telus for your impressive culture of giving. As you say. "We are a company that measures success not only by profitable returns, but by the contributions we make to society….". Perhaps you might also consider helping to meet the basic needs of Saturna residents who are stranded and without phones every winter during severe storms.
If you wish to discuss this further or would like additional information, I would be pleased to speak with you or a representative.