Citywest CEO Don Holkestad presents Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain with a cheque for $400

CityWest pays City of Prince Rupert $400,000

CityWest presented its sole shareholder, the City of Prince Rupert, with a distribution payment in the amount of $400,000 on Dec. 19.

Representatives with CityWest presented its sole shareholder, the City of Prince Rupert, with a distribution payment in the amount of $400,000 on Dec. 19.

“We had a good year in all of our products – internet, television, telephone and data services, and we’re pleased to provide our shareholder with a distribution,” said CityWest CEO Don Holkestad.

That “good year” didn’t come without a few road bumps: early in 2014, CityWest shut down its cellular network, which previously brought the company about $1 million in annual profit.

“But we were able to make some of that money back due to the investments we recently made to improve our other telecommunications products,” said Holkestad.

Those investments included spending more than $4 million to upgrade its network in the last two years, which enabled CityWest to provide its customers with they say is the fastest Internet in northwest B.C.

Citywest said those improvements also allowed the company to offer more high-definition digital TV channels and reliable voice services.

“By spending capital on those investments, we weren’t able to provide the City with its distribution payment last year,” said Holkestad. “It was a difficult decision to make, but higher Internet speeds were demanded by our customers. Also, our ability to provide the City with a distribution payment, is based on our banking covenants.”

In August, CityWest celebrated turning up its 10,000th Internet customer, and it has continued to grow its market share in its main markets of Prince Rupert, Port Edward, Terrace, and Kitimat. On top of that, the revenues realized from those investments have allowed the company to turn its eye to the Bulkley Valley for improvements in services there. These investments increase the value of the company to the City.

The realization of increased revenue from its current portfolio of services has allowed CityWest to provide a distribution of $400,000 to its shareholder, which is more than what was originally budgeted.

“Full credit for our success this year should be given to our hard-working staff, which has had to deal with many changes to our operations,” said Holkestad. “Without them, and without the strong relationship we have with our shareholder, this payment would not have been possible.”