Deer Lake SMART Planning Workshop, 1st Day

We opened the conference with an opening prayer and asked the Creator to bless our time together and to give us the wisdom to learn from each other this week. Oscar Meekis, the E-Centre Manager, began with Introductions of all the attendees for the community meeting on Monday night. Les Meekis, Community Manager for the SMART Project, did a summary of the week's events. Les talked about our primary purpose in hosting this conference, which is to inventory existing programs and discuss with community members how the SMART Project will enhance these services. We also want to discuss how the SMART Project will enable new programs to begin in our communities. Dan Pellerin, Network Manager, joined us from Sioux Lookout via video conferencing for the evening session. He talked with us about the recent developments involving broadband Internet access for homes, and how our connections will be improved. Brian Beaton discussed some of the history of K-Net. There are many reasons that K-Net was successful in becoming the Demonstration project for the SMART program. The KO communities have been preparing for these types of developments already. Beginning with the original BBS system that was put in place, our eyes were already on what could be accomplished, and we had built the foundation for what would become the SMART project. Broadband access for the KO communities was already being planned for with projects such as TeleHealth and the K-Net Internet High School. We were able to look at the direction we want for the future of our community using these communication technologies. The workshop helped us to better understand the technology that is out there and how we might use it to better ourselves. Before the community meeting, people had a vague idea of what the SMART Project was. Now, they are thinking about how the SMART Project will affect their daily lives. The workshop helped explain what the SMART Project can do, and how we will take our place in this new world of information technology. See the pictures