A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, authorizing all three jurisdictions to explore the development of a Maritime-wide mobile radio communications system that will benefit citizens across the region. The memorandum was signed by Nova Scotia’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Murray Scott, New Brunswick’s Supply and Services Minister Jack Keir and Carolyn Bertram, Minister of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour for Prince Edward Island. “Nova Scotia is a leader in the development of radio communications systems for first responders, and we’re pleased to join New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to explore the feasibility of a Maritime-wide system,” said Mr. Scott. “A shared system would have many benefits, including helping to ensure our first responders can continue to communicate, even when they cross Maritime borders.” “By forming this partnership, we are taking a team approach toward exploring a new and modern mobile radio communications system for the Maritimes,” said Mr. Keir. “There is great potential in this agreement to share specialized infrastructure, to reduce our costs and to create a seamless, integrated system that strengthens and improves our ability to respond to emergency situations in each province and across the region. Our collaborative approach also demonstrates to the federal government that this is a significant initiative worthy of funding support from Ottawa.” Each of the provinces now operates an independent mobile radio communications system and all are actively involved in renewing those systems for their respective emergency response organizations. “I am pleased to work with my counterparts in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to formalize our partnership and explore federal funding for this initiative,” said Ms. Bertram. “A Maritime-wide public safety radio system would not only benefit our province as we explore options to replace the mobile radio and pager system currently in use, it will increase efficiency and enable us to provide seamless emergency communications among our three neighbouring provinces.” The memorandum signifies a tri-province partnership has been formed to explore a common solution for mobile radio communications for the Maritimes. This partnership may include collaborating on its procurement, sharing the cost and operation of a next generation of an inter-provincial radio system that will lead to greater efficiencies and better safety. The provinces will also work together in exploring federal funding to support the initiative. The memorandum was effective Aug. 31, and will remain in place for four years. Under the joint agreement, a working group, made up of one representative from each province, will consult with interested groups and people to develop a plan to bring the project forward to the governments. The goal is to have a Maritime-wide mobile communications system in place in 2011. The multi-million dollar project is expected to help thousands of public safety and public works staff and personnel in delivering emergency services in the field. The project was initiated by the Maritime premiers, which issued a decision at the Council of Atlantic Premiers in May 2008, directing their officials to explore the development of the new communications system.