Councillors here want time to review a proposal by Everus Communications to upgrade local services.
Everus vice-president Twan Peeters believes exciting things are coming in Wellington North. “After all, it all started in this municipality,” he said.
Everus Communications was founded as High-Speed FX in Mount Forest in 2001 and now serves almost 2,000 rural residents across Wellington County and parts of 10 others in southwestern Ontario.
In the past year the company grew from 15 to 28 employees and expects to double this year.
It now offers WiMax service and secured a 3.5GHz licenced spectrum covering Wellington and about half of southern Ontario.
It changed its name in 2006 in conjunction with a decision to offer a broader range of services – including wireless high-speed service, DSL, and plans for a voice over IP service in the coming months.
Home IT support is available and business services expanded to provide support to small and medium businesses which do not have information technology departments.
Everus is seeking to renew its licence and lease agreements with Wellington North for use of the Mount Forest and Arthur water towers, installation of new WiMax technologies, and consent agreement as part of the company’s financing with CA Bank Corp.
Peters told council the company plans to upgrade equipment installed on both towers with new 3.5GHz technology to provide faster and enhanced services. The new equipment is smaller and will not affect the structure. Some of the older equipment may need to remain for several months to allow for reinstallations at homes and businesses.
Peeters said the original agreement was in 2001, with an amendment in 2004-05 to have a building at the Mount Forest tower. Since then, it was removed for a pumphouse. Newer technology will require more hydro, and the company would like to get moving.
Part of the reason behind the upgrades is to deal with changing technology over the past few years.
“The old system is not handling [the additional services] as well and there has been a decline in the quality of service,” Peeters said.
Everus is in the midst of a $5-million funding arrangement with CA Bank Corp. Peeters said the bank wants an agreement with the municipality if Everus should default in its payments.
Mayor Mike Broomhead’s first response was any agreement would first need to be reviewed by council’s lawyer. He added Works Superintendent Gary Williamson and township Chief Administrative Officer Lori Heinbuch have issues with some clauses in the old agreement.
Peeters suggested that aside from the one amendment, the agreement had changed.
Councillor Ross Chaulk wondered why this proposal had not gone to either the finance or the property committee first. He voiced a question on the monthly rent assessed to the company.
“Most companies pay rent in advance, not in arrears.”
Broomhead said council will see the draft agreement before it goes to the lawyer.