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.