Freedom Mobile has proposed another cell tower in an effort to launch a new network in Greater Victoria.
The latest proposal was met with some opposition during a public hearing Monday at Langford’s council meeting with residents expressing concerns about the appearance of the pole, its proximity to homes and potential health problems coming from exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Freedom Mobile is looking to install a 35 metre monopole wireless communication facility that would include eight wireless antennas and four microwave dishes on a City-owned property at 1365 Goldstream Ave. The antennas and dishes would be attached to the top of the pole with two accessory cabinets at the base. It would be placed near the southern property line and enclosed by a chain-link fence at the base of the tower.
The height and appearance of the proposed tower were top of mind for many residents in attendance, voicing concerns about how it would standout when compared to the natural beauty of the surrounding area, a neighbouring wetland and nearby trail system. Residents questioned if it needed to be 35 metres tall or if a smaller tower or other installations could be utilized instead.
One resident in attendance noted that since the proposal was for a City-owned site, council should be able to stop it and others asked if there was a more suitable site that could be used instead.
After several residents voiced their concern with the proposal, Mayor Stew Young clarified the City of Langford did not have the authority to approve or reject the project, nor was it conducting the research.
“Just to be clear, we’re not doing this, we’re not spending tax dollars on this,” he added.
Freedom Mobile is a Canadian wireless telecommunications provider owned by Shaw Communications with networks in Ontario, Alberta and the Lower Mainland. Telecommunication providers are required by the federal government to consult with local municipalities and the general public on new installations. While local governments and residents can provide feedback, the final decision comes from the federal government.
According to Freedom Mobile’s proposal, there are no existing antenna support structures or other infrastructure that could be utilized in the area, which is why the new tower is required. A spokesperson at Monday’s meeting echoed that, stating one in the Millstream Road area will also be removed in the near future.
He added that Freedom Mobile meets or exceeds Health Canada’s safety guidelines and cell sites in general are usually located on the rooftops of residential buildings.
As for concerns about the possibility of the tower being struck by lightening or being struck by low-flying aircraft, he noted the site will be equipped with a lightening rod and will be marked in accordance with Transportation Canada and NAV Canada requirements.