fbpx

An Update Regarding Morenet

During the budget cycle for 2019, Mordenʼs City Council became aware of significantly higher costs to deliver Morenet which deviated from the $100k of operating cost and $300-400k of capital costs initially approved by council. The new costs were many millions over the next several years with no relief in a 10-year window. At this juncture, we were determined to perform a new analysis of the project in the context of these updated numbers and concerns being raised from several people in the IT industry. We retained a network engineer to provide a report about what we were attempting to undertake, whether it could succeed, and what our challenges were. We were also concerned that the public utility model would not allow us to meet those challenges in a cost effective and responsible manner. 

In May, 2019, Morden City Council decided that the new cost combined with the report provided by our consultant, meant that we needed to terminate the service. At that time, we were approached by the Morenet network administrator and former city employee who offered to purchase the utility. Council felt it was important to explore this avenue as a means of cost recovery. Unfortunately, we were unable to come to an acceptable agreement.

The negotiations included the exchange of various drafts but also contemplated additional agreements in respect of which no drafts were yet exchanged. It is inaccurate to suggest the negotiations were close to conclusion or that even the complete agreement was on the table. Regardless, the city advised the opposing party the negotiations were concluded in advance of the press conference on the morning of September 30th, 2019, when the city informed the interested parties through their legal representation. We have affirmed that the city does not use public platforms for contract negotiations as this is inappropriate and leads to significant misinformation.

Given that former Deputy City Manager Dave Haines and Sergii Polishchuk of Infotec Manitoba –both of whom are currently contractors for the city- have made public that they were the potential buyers, we can now share some more information regarding their proposal and why it is not in the best interest of the city of Morden.

The city administration is actively in discussion with all local internet service providers and will do what is needed to ensure that Morden has access to quality internet. These ISPs are investing in our community. Now that we have made it clear that Morenet is indeed shutting down on October 30th these ISPs are more willing to increase their investments and meet the needs of our citizens. Many have already increased their available speeds and lowered their prices now that there is competition in the marketplace.

We remain committed to the success of our local businesses as well as our citizens and to that end we will actively pursue solutions to the need for fast and reliable internet in Morden.

MORENET UPDATE

On behalf of the city of Morden we are announcing that as of October 30, 2019, Morenet will be ceasing all operations. After examining the technical viability, costs, regulatory requirements, and associated risks we did not feel that as a long-term solution Morenet would be a fit for the City of Morden to operate as a public entity, particularly as the city continues to grow. The city of Morden will continue to explore opportunities to recuperate or redirect the initial investment to maximize the connectivity of city-owned buildings and facilities so we can continue to provide efficient public services.

Effective immediately, there will be no new Morenet connections and all existing connections will cease functioning as of October 30, 2019. The city of Morden has had extensive conversations with technical experts throughout this process to help determine what our options were and what would be best for our citizens. Morden City Council remains committed to ensuring that citizens have access to high-speed internet and will continue to seek out options to that end. We want to thank the people of Morden for their patience throughout this time and ask that if you have further questions please pick up an FAQ sheet at the Civic Centre or check mordenmb.com/morenet for up to date information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Sport and Leisure Expo Update

Another successful Sport and Leisure Expo has come and gone. The event on Wednesday September 4 had 30 organizations present to share information about programs, volunteer opportunities and services. Organizations were given the opportunity to make a donation toward helping give all kids a chance to be involved in recreation. A donation of $365 was collected and will go toward Canadian Tire Jumpstart, KidSport and Chance 2 Grow. Information on all of these programs can be found at mordenmb.com/recreation-funding. If you have extra funds at this time of year, consider making a donation to help kids in sport and recreation. It helps all kids access excellent programming. Donation information can be found online.

If you missed the Sport and Leisure expo there are still opportunities to register as long as spaces allow. See a full list of local sport and recreation opportunities and mordenmb.com/sports-groups.

See a program guide for City of Morden programs including fitness programs, first aid courses, adult drop-in sports, youth basketball, youth badminton, kids world dance, youth kickboxing, rec hockey, and more at mordenmb.com/programs. Or pick up a guide at the Access Event Centre, Civic Centre, Thornview Grocery, or Agassiz Medical Clinic.

Stephanie Dueck, Rec Programmer for City of Morden noted that, “being involved in programs and activities helps people of all ages to get active, boost self-esteem, improve well-being, and connect in the community. We are fortunate to have so many great opportunities in our area.”

See the full release here (PDF)

Morden Police Board Meeting

MPS Crest gold-Web

The next Morden Police Board Meeting will be held on September 24th, 2019, at 3:00 pm in the Morden Civic Centre Meeting Room – 195 Stephen Street.

All those wishing to be on the agenda to speak must register at the beginning of the meeting.

Morenet Update

The City of Morden is preparing to make a significant announcement regarding Morenet and what our citizens can expect going forward. Since learning about the costs related to the project and what it would take to deliver comprehensive Morenet coverage, city staff and Council have been working diligently to try to find solutions and determine the best way forward.

While an announcement is still a few weeks away from being ready to be made public, city staff and Council have seen a sharp uptick in concerns from citizens regarding the lack of news being shared officially regarding the Morenet project. With that in mind, we would like to assure our citizens that a project the size and scale of Morenet with complex multi-faceted components, as with any of the other large-scale projects that the city is currently involved with, is done with significant work behind the scenes before an announcement can be made. We thank the citizens of Morden for their patience in this regard and want everyone to know that we have been listening to your concerns and suggestions.

We as a city are actively working on improving our communication channels between city staff and the citizens of Morden and will share any updates regarding Morenet through our city-owned communication channels like our website and social media, as well as through our local media partners who we are in close communication with. As soon as we are able, we will use all the communication tools available to us to share this news with our community.

Thank you to the citizens of Morden for making your voice heard and for your patience during this process.

See the full media release here (PDF)

PUBLIC NOTICE: DED BASAL SPRAYING

The City of Morden would like to inform its residents of plans to basal spray American elm trees within the City for control of elm bark beetles. This treatment helps prevent the overwintering of elm bark beetles, which may be carrying Dutch elm disease fungal spores. The basal spraying program is part of the City’s Dutch Elm Disease Management Program and is identified as a DED preventative maintenance control measure in the Community Forest Agreement with the Province of Manitoba. Effective control is achieved through treatment of all Elm trees in the community, approximately 2,800 trees will be treated on public and private property. Once treatment has occurred the contractor will place a green drop flag in the ground on the property. Immediately following treatment, residents are encouraged to avoid direct contact with treated trees.

Basal Spraying will begin August 26th, 2019.

Green Drop is contracted to conduct the spraying, Green Drop staff, trucks and equipment will be easily identified while spraying is taking place.

See the full release here (PDF)

CLARIFICATION REGARDING THE MAYOR’S BUDGET

Recently there has been some confusion regarding the mayor’s budget and concerns that he is already over budget for the year. In seeking to provide clarity Patrick Dueck, Deputy City Manager – Corporate, explained that “Council recognized that the mayor was facing a busy year, and putting in considerable time following leads that could benefit our community. For this reason, Council approved increased spending in order for the mayor to attend these events.”

The confusion comes from speculation that expenses have already exceeded the budget approved by council for this purpose. Morden City Council approved $20,000 as the mayor’s increased budget looking to use these funds for promotion of the city as well as to help drive economic growth and development in Morden. However, due to the timing of this approval it did not end up as a dedicated line item in the approved city budget. Instead, “this increased spending will be reallocated from other under-utilized sources within the budget, as budget numbers were already finalized. This causes the affected accounts to appear over budget, but with the knowledge that other offsetting accounts will also be under-utilized compared to budget. While each line item has a budgeted amount, these are only our best estimates, and we always consider the budget as a whole.”

Making clear that currently we are within budget as a city and that we are seeking to end the year with a balanced budget, Mayor Brandon Burley said that “I hope any confusion surrounding this will only serve to highlight that this council and the City of Morden staff are always seeking to be good stewards of the funds we have available and want to provide the best service possible to the citizens of our great City. Events like the Corn and Apple festival this past weekend highlight what this city is capable of and we will continue to search for more opportunities that help Morden grow.”