Wellington North asks for Everus equipment to be removed

On the brink of a multi-million dollar expansion, Everus Communications Inc. is facing a hurdle without the use of the Arthur and Mount Forest water towers.

Following acceptance of the building and property committee report, councillors here agreed to the recommendation that the municipality terminate its agreement with Everus for the use of the municipal water towers in the two communities to house telecommunications equipment.

While its previous agreement allows for a 120-day notification, council is giving the company until Dec. 31 to remove all its antennas and other equipment from the towers.

Public Works Manager Gary Willi­amson advised the committee access to the towers could not be approved due to regulations for health and safety. Currently, if Everus staff need to make adjustments to its equipment, municipal staff must also be on hand, because the works department cannot just hand over its keys.

In recent weeks, Everus had announced a $5-million  invest­ment in Everus Communi­cations Inc. – formerly High-Speed FX.

The investment was intended to expand the geographic footprint of Everus’ coverage area, improve its existing network infrastructure, as well as improve its back-office capabilities. Currently, it has customers in all or part of 11 counties including: Huron, Perth, Grey, Bruce, Dufferin, Wellington, and Waterloo.

When councillor Dan Yake asked what the real change is, Williamson pointed to the ownership. While relations had improved, he cited the planned company expansion and said the township might need the space on the towers for its own needs.

Williamson explained a number of things are happening in the community, from the installation of fibre optic networks to the the municipality’s dealing with smart metering programs, which will require an electronic linking of the metering information in Mount Forest and Arthur.

“There are a whole lot of things going on right now,” Williamson said.

With the recent request to review its agreement with Everus, Wil­li­amson said it is an opportune time to look at the whole issue. He suggested the space atop the water towers may be needed for Wellington North Power equipment.