PRINCE RUPERT – CityWest has presented its sole shareholder, the City of Prince Rupert, with a $800,000 distribution payment for 2021, an increase of $100,000 from the previous year, and up $200,000 from 2019.
“Our amazing staff overcame myriad challenges last year, and they worked hard to ensure 2021 was yet another successful year for CityWest,” said Stefan Woloszyn, CEO of CityWest. “We laid the groundwork for a variety of opportunities that will come to fruition in 2022, and in the years ahead to ensure the strength and stability of our company in a very competitive industry.”
Like companies in many other industries, CityWest has continued to alter its operations to keep pace with the ever-changing conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these obstacles, CityWest also grew its staff by 33 per cent to prepare for growth in its existing markets, as well as new markets down the coast of B.C.
Indeed, the next few years will be a very exciting time for CityWest, based on the work that was done over the course of the year. In 2021, many funding announcements were made that will see CityWest expanding its service areas to the following areas: west to Haida Gwaii, in the communities of Masset, Old Massett, Skidegate, Queen Charlotte, Tlell, and Tow Hill; east to Kitwanga and Fraser Lake; and south to Cortes Island, Denman Island, Hornby Island, and Bamfield.
These massive expansion projects are possible for two reasons.
One, the Connected Coast project, a 3,400-kilometre subsea fibre line that will provide backhaul services to rural and remote communities down the B.C. coast to Vancouver, and around Vancouver Island. Funded by the provincial and federal governments, Connected Coast will be operated by a joint venture between CityWest and Strathcona Regional District.
Two, the partnerships that have been forged throughout the province with local municipalities and First Nations bands, which will see a share of the profits generated from those areas invested back into their communities.
“The continued expansion of CityWest into new and remote areas of Northern and Coastal BC, despite the COVID pandemic, is a real testament to the strength of this local company,” said Prince Rupert City Manager Rob Buchan. “For another year, they are continuing to support their home community through this increased dividend payment, as well as by employing local people and contributing to local causes.”
Looking forward to 2022, the company will continue to forge partnerships at the local level, seeking to provide better Internet, TV, and phone services to underserved communities throughout the province.
Since it spun out into a corporation in 2005, CityWest has provided the City of Prince Rupert with $9.6 million in dividends and distribution payments, as well as over $2.1 million in local taxes and levies.