North Bay Mayor Al McDonald says the lack of high-speed internet was a major topic of discussion for the Mayors of Nipissing District who held a strategy meeting in North Bay.

McDonald says not having high-speed internet was identified as a barrier to growth, especially among the outlying communities.

The Mayors from about 12 municipalities gathered in North Bay Tuesday afternoon to discuss how Nipissing District can grow.

McDonald says if “we all work together, we’re stronger”.

“What’s good for North Bay is good for the outlying municipalities and what’s good for the outlying municipalities is good for North Bay,” said McDonald.

McDonald said it’s not just the outlying communities that struggle with not having high-speed internet.

He says rural residents of North Bay who live in the North Shore and Peninsula road areas also have issues not being able to access high-speed internet.

The Mayor adds it’s surprising that in this day and age there are still many regions in Canada that don’t have high-speed internet.

The issue is one of the action items the Mayors will pursue.

McDonald says his counterparts also talked about the Northern Ontario Growth Plan and how the provincial government can help municipalities, immigration and the need to bring back passenger rail service.

On a smaller scale, the municipalities raised the matter of sharing services.

McDonald says this subject centred on how the municipalities can buy services from one another.

He says an issue for the much smaller communities was not having something like a Chief Building Inspector.

“Sometimes they struggle to find the individual they need and we can work together on this,” said McDonald.

“If you don’t have building inspectors it makes it difficult to have any construction.”

McDonald says the Mayors also talked about using social media more often to let the public know about events going on in the smaller communities.