Scott Humphries, chair of the Local Service District, said they had about 130 names on the petition, which is considerable when the total population of Laurenceton is about 170. Mr. Humphries delivered the petition directly to MHA Verge’s office in Lewisporte so it could be delivered to Minister Hutchings. This is the first step in making their concerns known to the government. Mr. Humphries states, “The petition is the first stage, we’re just waiting now for a response.”
Mr. Humphries addresses some of the issues with not having access to the Internet in relation to his role.
“As regards to being chair of the Local Service, it’s very difficult because now they want you to do everything online,” he said. “The emphasis is getting away from paper.
“Every application you put in for student jobs, or funding for things at the community centre, or whatever, everything now they want online. Not only that, but every institution. The banks want you to do your banking online, everything.”
He went on to say that some government departments “. . .still offer the paper applications if you want, but I think eventually that’s the way it’s going to be. Everything will be required to be done online. The government is providing them (Aliant) with money to do this, why shouldn’t they provide us with the service so that we can at least turn around and try and provide the government with what they want – online applications.”
The McLay’s address some of the fundamental issues they have with the lack of adequate service.
Ms. McLay said, “Our three kids are on the mainland, if they send us pictures of their kids, nine times out of 10 we can’t get them — by the time they start to download they’re bumped off.
“Even to Google, to try and get a bit of information on something, it’s just a waste of time.”
Mr. McLay indicates, “School kids here are suffering because they can’t have access to libraries and information and that kind of thing because the connection speed is so slow. What can you do without the Internet? All of our children are away. We’ve been talking about moving.”
Ms. McLay adds to that, “I’ve been joking at work that he’ll be one of the first fellas that will sell his house because he can’t get the Internet.”