City council candidate Cam Kos is concerned that Whitehorse is getting a raw deal from Bell Mobility.
The lease agreement for a cell tower that the city recently negotiated with the telco raised some red flags for Kos, who brought his concerns to council Monday night.
The city was planning to lease Bell the land for a lump sum of $200, with one-dollar annual payments after that.
While the city is also using the tower for its SCADA system, the electronic monitoring system for the city’s water and sewer lines, it still seems like city is getting a bad deal, said Kos.
“I just pulled up a couple of contracts,” he said. “The cities of Hamilton (Ont.) and Maple Ridge, B.C., are getting $25,000 from Bell per year with an increase of 2.5 per cent per year, plus they’re renting the same location to Rogers for another $25,000.”
In addition, the terms of the contract stipulate that the city has to rely on Bell as a contractor to do work on the site.
“It just does not seem prudent to give away this land to Bell without rent,” said Kos.
Council agreed. It has tasked city administration to take another look at the contract.
“Council isn’t very happy with the amount that has been negotiated and has asked us to find out why it is seemingly so low,” said Stan Westby, the Whitehorse city manager. “The quid pro quo is because we’ve got the SCADA lines on that tower and there is a benefit for us, but I just wanted to find out if that benefit is equal to what would normally be received in a contract like that.”
The city has reopened negotiations with a lawyer representing Bell Mobility.
The lease agreement will come back to council in two weeks. (Josh Kerr)