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Change in direction means $200,000 Squamish investment wasted

Construction of fibre optic network halted, Telus to be hired for network services



NETWORK REBOOT Squamish Council is giving up on a plan to create a fibre optic network to connect municipal buildings and infrastructure.

A $200,000 District of Squamish (DOS) information technology investment is being abandoned.

Three fibre optic conduit lines installed in Squamish are going to sit in the ground unused with no future plans to make use of them.

The conduit was laid in three separate locations while recent road and trail work was done in Squamish. The largest stretch of fibre optic conduit was placed between the Squamish Adventure Centre, the RCMP office in Squamish, Brennan Park and the Forests Ministry office building, which is owned by the District of Squamish. A small length of conduit was also installed along Highway 99 near the community garden just south of Mamquam Road. A third length of conduit was put into the ground from Mamquam Road up Highlands Way South and The Boulevard to Perth Drive, just short of the bridge to Quest University.

The original project's vision was aimed at creating a fibre optic network for the District of Squamish to manage the flow of information between municipal buildings.

According to a report created for Squamish Council as part of a committee of the whole agenda, fibre optic cables won't be put into the conduit and the sections of conduit won't be connected to any municipal buildings.

"Upon further review, this conduit was found to have been installed incorrectly and not to code, rendering it unusable by telecommunications companies such as Telus, Bell or Shaw and leaving it uninsurable for District use," wrote Conrad Kordel, the DOS IT Manager, in a report for the members of Squamish Council. "Conduit connections to the actual buildings were not completed and no fibre was ever installed."

DOS staff have recommended council contract with Telus to provide the DOS with network services to ensure consistent service between district facilities.

Council has endorsed a staff recommendation to sign a five-year deal with Telus that will see Telus provide the DOS with a managed network at a cost of $122,000 a year plus a one-time payment of just over $24,000.

According to Kordel's report, the current DOS network is prone to outages.

"The 'real' costs of outages to the District are difficult to determine, but they are significant," he said in his report to council.

"With the new managed network there are no surprise costs and outages are minimal. The network will be proactively monitored and most potential issues will be dealt with before they arise."

Squamish Mayor Rob Kirkham wasn't available for an interview before Pique's press deadline to discuss the IT strategy shift.

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