Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pincher Creek Town Council hears from Shaw delegation

Josh Davis with additional noted from Toni Lucas - Lauren Nummi, Planner with Shaw Communications Inc. presented as a delegation to the Town of Pincher Creek Committee of the Whole on May 4, to discuss Shaw's plans for the area. The committee asked Shaw to work with them on a municipal access agreement Government & Regulatory Affairs Executive Officer Darren Cunningham was scheduled for this meeting but was unable to attend as a result of the wildfire in Fort McMurray. In his absence some of the committee's questions went unanswered. “I for one would like to see Shaw’s long term plan for our community,” said Town Councillor Doug Thornton.

Nummi said that for the hospital project Shaw initially looked into Fortis, but that the costs ended up greater than installing the line underground. Nummi said that Shaw has installed fibre-optic cables in seven hospitals in Alberta. “Pincher Creek is one of the only two that hasn’t been done yet,” said Nummi.

“So, your project with the hospital, that’s a dedicated line, and nobody else will be able to use fibre out of that?” asked Councillor Thornton.

“No, what we do is we take a larger fibre, so a 96 count fibre, up to right outside the building that we’re going to, and then we put a smaller fibre into that building. So then they can lease, or rent, or however it works, up to 24 fibres on that 96 fibre, depending on the cost.”

“So will another company be able to lease fibre from you? Another service company?” asked Thornton.

“I can’t speak to that,” said Nummi. “They’re strictly for Shaw unless Shaw comes up with an agreement with someone else. We do have other people who use our fibre lines in other areas.”

“The other issue we’re looking at is right now we have no municipal access agreement in place,” said Mayor Don Anderberg. “We want to have a discussion with Shaw about a municipal access agreement.” Anderberg said that some of Shaw’s actions have been impacting the Town’s projects. “It makes things cleaner, and more business-like, and puts some rules in place where if we need something we come to you, and if you need something you come to us, and everybody is on the same page.” Anderberg also asked what Shaw’s intentions were regarding bringing fibre to the town.

“With these projects, just because of the way they come about, each customer is individually assessed on how much of a portion of the job they pay for, and how much Shaw would pay for” said Nummi. “I think it all depends on what services they sign up for, and how much they might be billed and what contract they sign. So you could run into one of these jobs that’s fully paid for by a customer or fully paid for by Shaw.” Nummi explained that because of cost of a large fibre is not much greater than the cost of a small fibre, usually the larger fibre is installed. Nummi also explained that due to the high cost of fibre, usually a single line of fibre is installed, and then copper is run from that fibre.

At Town Council's regular meeting on Monday, May 9, council approved part of a request from Shaw to install Fibre optic cables.  The request included Kettles Street, from Police Avenue to Christie Avenue and along Beverly McLachlin Drive and Mill Avenue, from Arthur Ames Street to Rigaux Drive.  The proposal from Shaw to install lines along Beverly McLachlin  Drive and Mill Avenue were approved.  Other areas of the request were not.  Councillor Doug Thornton said,  "I would like to see the municipal access agreement in place before we do anything. My motion was around we had already agreed with them in principle to go ahead with their project, they had a reversal (coming to a decision to put lines underground rather than on lines).  and I think we're just being helpful by saying 'Alright, put it (the areas which have already been approved) underground.'  That having been done, I would like to see a better plan for what they intend to do in our town."

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