I agree with you Shaun, incorporating CityTel was a good move to remove it from the core business of City Hall. City Hall had bled CityTel dry over the years leading up to incorporation and no doubt will continue to be an easy pocket to pick when politicians refuse to face up to reality and make hard choices about what the town can really afford.
In fact unless the telephone company was incorporated into a separate entity, it was impossible to either sell the operation or to sell equity to a telecom with deeper pockets and expertise than CityWest has or can have.
What I do not agree with is the manner in which Pond and Co. did it and how they saddled the taxpayers with increased taxes to fuel CityWest’s expansion without being candid with the city on the acquisition of Monarch and what that would mean to their taxes.
Thanks to Podunkian, I reread the Leanne Ritchie Article and I have to agree with her closing comment;
“People should be outraged about this- theyâ€™ve been lied to and left blind when it comes to an important legacy left to them by the cityâ€™s founders, a municipally-owned telephone company. Itâ€™s time to pick up the phone and demand some answers.”
All of the previous shenanigans are water under the bridge now and the citizens now have an opportunity to elect a new council hopefully that will bring real openess and transparency to local government. Frankly, the future of CityWest is too important to too many people to leave it up to the politicians.
In the next decade this company will face challenges that will threaten it’s survival and it does not have the human or financial capital to withstand these. The demographics of the baby boom generation and innovations in wireless are just two trends that will rock this company to it’s foundations.
The competition for skilled workers in the telecommunications industry is already intense and anyone with experience with attempting to hiring specialized workers in Prince Rupert will attest to the difficulties Citywest will face as a good portion of it’s workforce reaches retirement age within the next decade. :-) In fact if my memory serves me correctly, Mayor Pond used the difficulty of recruiting specialized help as an excuse to hire Tanalee Hess without going through the proper motions!
As for innovations in wireless, CityWest has already moved from being a provider of Cell Services to being a broker for Northwestel. In time, it is quite possible it will lose the very inhouse expertise that would allow it to compete as new wireless technologies continue to erode it’s land line base and erode it’s internet and cable operations.
There are options available now to the owners of CityWest that won’t be available when it begins to fail and the city needs to have an informed debate on one of it’s most important assets and how 100% ownership fits within a city struggling with it’s finances and attracting investment to one of the highest taxed communities in the province.
It’s not uncommon for sales to be structured with guaranteed employment for a community nor is it uncommon to sell portions of a company to acquire both financial clout and expertise. Who is to know whether any of the major Telco’s would pass on the opportunity to have a Northern base of operations to service NorthWestern BC.
Lastly Shaun, if my comment was construed to suggest you were simply a mouthpiece for your employer, I sincerely apologize as I welcome your honestly held opinions.