Wednesday, March 29, 2023

CityWest announces distribution plans for 1 million dollars, over two years, towards City Budget property tax relief themes

CityWest, the City of Prince Rupert owned telecommunication company is sending its owners some cash towards assisting with the current budget planing. 

That the information relayed through both the CityWest website and a social media message this week.

click to enlarge

As part of the announcement, CityWest Board Chair and former City of Prince Rupert City Manager Robert Long observes how the CityWest Board "is pleased to provide financial support to the City of Prince Rupert in their time of need."

CityWest CEO, Stefan Woloszyn adding how "This is the right thing to do".

Some in the community might also note, that it's also kind of the expected thing to do. 

CityWest normally provides for a distribution payment around the Holiday season, that the time for the big Novelty cheque and much good spirit on giving back to community. 

Former Mayor Lee Brain,  accepting
the CityWest Distribution payment in January of 2022

However,  as we outlined in January, none was delivered as far as anyone knows this year, up until the Monday announcement towards helping out property owners.

So, the late March assistance is sort of a late Christmas present, or early Easter one perhaps. 

The contribution announced Monday however is to be split up over two years to 'provide property tax relief over the next two years for property owners in Prince Rupert.'
In January of 2022, which was the time of the last CityWest distribution payment, the return to the city came to 800,000 dollars. Something which should probably be considered a loan repayment on a still significant outstanding balance from the days of the Monarch cable purchase. 

So, unless there is another announcement related to the annual distribution payment, the CityWest contribution from Monday, divided over two years, would actually seem to be a reduction from past distribution payments.

Statement from City of PR Annual Report
For year end December 31 2021

There was no mention of CityWest as part of the Budget presentation from last week. 

The Financial plan delivered by CFO Corinne Bomben which featured the proposed 15.7 percent tax hike did however feature the recently announced  65 Million from the Eby provincial government and funding through the City's other corporate interest, Legacy Inc.

Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond is onboard with the CityWest narrative from down Third East. Mr. Pond seems to have also indicated through his statement that the City of Prince Rupert and CityWest will forever be as one.

"We are beyond happy to see CityWest step up to help our citizens. This financial contribution will help every homeowner in Prince Rupert, while we work to make crucial upgrades to our city. CityWest has, and always will be, a key partner to the City of Prince Rupert." -- Herb Pond, Mayor of Prince Rupert.

The CityWest contribution was also noted on the City of Prince Rupert website.

CityWest also observes of the return that the communication company has provided to the City since 2005, though there is no mention of the assistance that the City had directed the other way, a cash provision that set the table for the current business model to evolve.

More notes on the 2023 Budget Process from the City can be reviewed here.

Items of interest related to CityWest can be explored here.


  1. There should be a question at the next council asking staff to request CityWest to attend the next meeting so councilors could ask if Prince Rupert will get the same dividend payment as last year in 2023 along with the above promised money.

  2. Since 2005, Citywest has remitted $10.6 million in debt repayment. ( aka dividends / novelty cheques) to simply service their debt and are celebrated for it.

    Meanwhile, since 2011. The PRPA Community Investment Fund has contributed $14 million to over 90 community projects but are vilified.

    1. 14M distributed in over a decade is pittance from the Port. They do not come close to paying their part to offset the impacts of their activity on the environment or the city of rupert. Nor do they pay their share of taxes.

    2. Does they port pay their taxes that the city assesses every year. If there is a problem with what the port is assessed at David Eby is the one to call!

    3. Comparing PRPA community donations to Citywest debt repayment/dividend is faulty.

      The PRPA represents $60 billion in annual trade. Citywest represents only a few thousand rural and remote internet/TV customers.

      It’s like comparing elephants to mice.

      And yet, the mouse actually equally shares in the pain of increased taxes while the elephant gets to pay less almost every year.

    4. Citywest had $20 Million forgiven in debt and skipped a debt repayment in 2008 due to economic conditions.

      Did you know that and are ok with that?

      Or did you know that and don't care about it because slandering the PRPA is the trendy thing to do?

      BTW, our infrastructure deficit was $279 Million in 2013. That $20 Million from Citywest would have helped.

      If you gripe about the tax cap, but give Citywest a pass, you are a hypocrite.

    5. How is something so commonly known and so easily provable in the public record considered “slander” in your world?

      The port tax cap drains the city’s budget while Citywest is contributing to it. Simple.

    6. There’s a difference between vilify and scrutinize.

      Nobody is being defamed. Our community is simply awakening to the unfairness

    7. Does anyone else find the irony in the fact that all of our armchair tax cap experts can dig around in our city financials but somehow conveniently miss the Citywest Financials?

      $20 million forgiven, debt payment missed. $17 million loan on the books.
      Citywest charged City Hall $156,795 in 2021 for their services.

      Find me another city that lets a telecom drain them like that.

      Keep letting the Citywest executives skate by without any scrutiny. Keep clapping for their annual novelty cheque that goes to their debt.


    8. So in your world, contributions to our city include having $20 Million of debt removed, missing debt repayments, and just paying enough to service your existing debt.

      It's that simple in your world, no drain there. None at all.

    9. Does anyone else find irony in the fact that all our armchair Port apologists can dig around in our city financials but somehow conveniently avoid that the tax cap and PILT make up 14.3% of the proposed tax increase?

      $900k loss from PILT.

      $2 million loss from tax cap.

      Find me another city that lets their primary industry drain them like that.

      Keep letting the Port Authority executives skate by without any scrutiny. Keep clapping for their novelty cheques that only seem to go to things that they can plaster their logo on.


  3. “it's also kind of the expected thing to do”

    Just be happy for once! This is a good news story!