Milestones

The Cochrane Public Utilities Commission and its evolved companies, Cochrane Telecom Services, Water & Wastewater Services and Northern Ontario Wires Inc. having been serving the Town of Cochrane for over 90 years. The Commission has provided a rich history to the citizens of Cochrane and has witnessed many changes.


1921

On January 3rd, By-law No. 257 received the assesnt of the electors to appoint the Public Utilities Commission of the Town of Cochrane. Thus, the Commission was formed as a separate entity of the Corporation of the Town of Cochrane and was the owner of a waterworks plant and system, an electrical plant and system and a telephone works and system.


Originally, there were only three members of the Commission: the mayor, who served in an ex-officio capacity and two other members who were elected by the ratepayers. Eventually, it was deemed necessary that five members be a part of the Commission.


Throughout the decades, the Cochrane P.U.C. saw 50 Commissioners who served the Town of Cochrane. We wish to extend our thanks and appreciation for their dedication and service.


Fred. C. Ivy Joseph Bradette Joe E. Desloges Maurice Hotte
J.W. Russell J.G. Yates George W. Wingrove David S. Hughes
Robert J. Mackay Jasper Drinkwater A.T.H. Taylor Clarke Shanks
J. Lanning Robert R. Mitchell John M. Penney Robert Labelle
D.A. Chenier Robert M. Smith Edward Thorning Donald V. Genier
Aarne E. Wicks J.A.K. Falby D.S. Revels Gerry Robichaud
George A. Zahalan Donald Rochon Gordon Biggs Doug Theobald
Mel Owens Michael A. Palangio William G. Kelly Jean-Luc Brousseau
L.J. Abernethy Graham J. Kydd L. McKinnon Luc Denault.
Frank Fasano Howard Warrell Murray Fingland Michael Palangio
Roland P. Bradette Courney V. Sunstrum Dan Belisle Raymond Fortier
Ken Rochon Duncan Allan Robert Bondy Angelo Anselmo
Ronald E. Bertrand R. Roy Mitchell

1923

The Commission approves a new producer and scrubber for the power plant. Drawing water from Norman Lake was discontinued and wells no. 1 and 2 were dug.


1926

The old generating station (which used coal) was abandoned and transformers are purchased for distributing electricity. Power is supplied by Abitibi Power and Paper Co. The old generating station was eventually torn down in 1938.


1929

The Sixth Avenue office is built and a new switchboard is installed.


1939

The Town and Commission attempts to merge as a whole body on April 17th. The P.U.C. refuses. The utilities warehouse is built.


1944

Wells no. 3 and 4 a built and a chlorinator is purchased for the new water softening plant. The Hillcrest electric line is taken over by the P.U.C. This line was previously maintained by homeowners in that area.


1947

The water and sewer department amalgamate.


1950

A new larger switchboard is purchased and the Sixth Avenue office is enlarged. The official opening of the new office occurred on May 15th which introduced telephone capabilities for all citizens.


1951

A new storm drainage system is completed in anticipation of permanent surfacing of the streets. Also, sewer lines are constructed in an attempt to do aware with privies. Power is supplied by the Hydro Electric Power Commission through a new transmission line. The P.U.C. discontinues to purchase power from Abitibi, however retains the connection for emergency and standby service. Machine billing begins.


1955

The first preliminary fluoride report is given.


1958

The Commission is increased to five members. Another extension to the Sixth Avenue office is made to house an additional switchboard. The P.U.C. becomes unionized.


1959

Water service extensions are made for Hugh Subdivision. The distribution voltage is changed from 2300 to 4160.


1960

Extension of telephone service to residents on the South Highway is completed.


1961

Fluoridation is rejected by the ratepayers.


1962

An automatic (dial) telephone exchange is installed in the basement of the ONTC office on Fifth Avenue. The conversion from manual to dial was successful.


1964

The "Electric Home" becomes an ideal template.


1966

A new sewage treatment plant is constructed.


1969

The first computer billing system is installed.


1974

Construction of a substation to provide power to Chalmers subdivision is commenced. Directory assistance charges come into play.


1977

Water and sewer plant improvements begin and extensive water/ sewer extenstion are undertaken.


1981

A truck sewer project is underway.


1982

Streetlight distribution is purchased by the Town, however the P.U.C. still maintains the system. Well no. 5 is constructed. A new DMS-100 Switching System is installed in the central office. Fluoridation of drinking water receives assent from the ratepayers.


1985

Replaced Shirley pumping station.


1986

The P.U.C. and Town look to consolidate into one building. The motion is defeated. Upgrades to the distribution system from 4120 to 4.16 kV begin.


1989

A restricted water use By-law comes into effect. Construction on wells no. 6 and 7 begin.


1991

New upgrades to the Water Pollution Control Plant are commenced. The P.U.C. Service Centre on Victoria (now Nakita) Avenue is puchased. Pay phone rates increase to 25 cents.


1992

Construction on a new water treatment plant is undertaken.


1995

The new Water Treatment Plant goes online May 17th which includes a new water tower at the east endo f town. The old water tower, located on Sixth Avenue and a long-time landmark is dismantled. Major renovation to the Sixth Avenue office are undertaken to prepare for the installation of a new switch, which went online May 8th. Cochrane Cellular Mobility is introduced July 5th and P.U.C Net (the Internet) is introduced October 20th.


1997

The P.U.C. begins an annual dividend to the Town of Cochrane in the amount of $100,000.


2000

The P.U.C. purchased remaining 272 exchange and immediately began converting rural party lines to private lines. Cellular Mobility is sold. Effective November 7th, the electrical assets of the Cochrane P.U.C., Iroquois Falls Hydro and Kapuskasing P.U.C. were transferred to create Northern Ontario Wires Inc. This change came about as a result of the introduction of competition to the electrical industry by the Government of Ontario. Northern Ontario OnCall, Cochrane's own call centre is created.


2003

As a result of new legislation, Public Utility Commissions throughout the province are abolished. In its stead, Cochrane Telecom Services was created, which is run by the Cochrane Utilities Board. The Board consists of three members appoint by the Town of Cochrane. They oversee the workings of the Telephone, Internet and Call Centre departments. Water and Sewer services is still operated by the former P.U.C. however is mandated by the Corporation of the Town of Cochrane.


2004

New branding and logos are adopted: Cochrane Telecom Services of the Corporation of the Town of Cochrane, Your Connection to the World!


2005

Northern Ontario OnCall closes in June. High Speed Internet becomes available to rural areas, namely Frederickhouse, Clute, Genier, Norembega and the South Highway.


2006

High Speed Internet rates are decreased by $2.00 and download speeds are increased.


2007

Construction begins on the extension of service to Silverqueen Lake with funding from NOHFC. Enhanced 911 goes online February 8th. The annual dividend to the Town increased to $150,000.


2008

High Speed Internet rates are again decreased by $2.00. The annual dividend to the Town is increased to $225,000.


2009

The operation of the Water and Sewer department is taken over by the Town, however CTS retains the billing. The annual dividend to the Town is increased to $250,000.


2010

High Speed Internet rates are decreased by $2.00. The annual dividend to the Town is increased to $300,000.


2011

Construction begins on the extension of service to Dora Lake, Lake Louise and Bentley Lake with funding from NOHFC. Dial-up Internet is phased out and two new high speed packages are introduced. High Speed Internet is once again decreased by $2.00. The annual dividend to the Town is increased to $325,000.