To get good insightful answers, how the question is framed matters. I missed an opportunity on Thursday
City Hall hasn’t yet figured out how it is approaching the Internet. On one hand, we finally have a new website. On the other, we just spent $440,551 to dismantle the downtown public wireless network at a time that successful new economy cities expand public wireless.
The quarterly capital projects status reports are a treasure trove of information, but can be confusing, lengthy, and boring.
Budget lines for all capital accounts are listed, and each committee receives updates for their area. GIC gets updates on accounts controlled by Corporate Services and the City Managers Department.
There are no significant cost overruns to report, and a couple projects of note.
Wireless, Internet? Just a Fad
The dismantling of Hamilton’s outdoor public wireless network is complete.
The cost of dismantling the wireless network – as part of the reversal of a strategy to try building an information services sector in Hamilton – was $440,551.
In 2008, Council sold our municipal fibre optic network to Atria Networks, who soon after sold it at a significant markup to Rogers as part of a $418-million dollar deal.
The City never disclosed what it collected on the sale.
$200,000 remains in Council’s budget for GIS (Geographic Information Services) upgrades with staff hoping to upgrade Hamilton’s first open information portal: map.hamilton.ca
When launched in 2003, map.hamilton.ca was cutting edge and reflective of a then-goal for the new City of Hamilton to be open with public information to overcome cynicism resulting from the forced amalgamation of the six former municipalities.
Today, the underlying technologies – ActiveX and Java – are no longer supported by browsers, the site runs very slowly, and the data cannot be downloaded in open formats.
Staff plan to start work on the new website in 2015, there is no timeline for launch of a new site.
New City Website
The new City website project continues to progress at a decent pace for a City project.
The project launched a beta site in early July, is using an open source CMS, and has the money in accounts to start building modules.
On June 30th, $374,485 had been spent, $130,241 was committed, and $1,800,074 remained in the budget line for the project.