This aerial map shows the location of a proposed cellphone tower almost 30 metres in height.

Saanich supports cell tower amidst growing concerns

Plans for a cellphone antenna nearly 30 metres high have entered their next phase after Saanich supported the proposal.

Council unanimously supported an application Oct. 23 by Freedom Mobil/Cypress Land Service Services to build the antenna some 40 metres off the Patricia Bay Highway on a property accessed off Alderly Road. The tower would be located near the Capital Regional District’s animal pound.

Saanich, however, has no approving authority. It lies with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), and Saanich considered the application as per requirements from ISED.

Partly screened by mature trees, the tower would be partially visible from the highway in both directions, said Sharon Hvozdanski, director of planning. It “would not significantly change the land use or visual character in the area,” she said.

Council approved the project after hearing from area residents concerned about the impact of the tower. While Coun. Colin Plant acknowledged these concerns, he said the applicant had consulted with the residents to find the best possible solution. Plant also noted that he had a responsibility towards the larger community.

Coun. Susan Brice said the tower will improve cellphone service in the region, which currently lacks existing antenna support structures or other feasible infrastructure that could provide the service.

Council issued its support against the backdrop of public concerns about the effects of wireless technology, and radiation.

The issue even reached the 2017 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention, when delegated passed a resolution that asked “provincial and federal governments to mandate similar public consultation requirements for the placement of microcell transmitters as per cell towers.”

Microcell transmitters are small cellular transmitters broadcasting electro-magnetic waves used for wireless communication, and appear across neighbourhood attached to power-poles.

Sherry Rideout, a concerned Saanich resident, praised UBCM’s decision. “It’s great that awareness of this issue is growing,” she said. “At the same time, I am realistic that it doesn’t guarantee action.”

More than 54 city councils in B.C. and UBCM voted in favour of a moratorium/opt out program on wireless electrical metres, she said. “We know how much impact that stand from local governments had on BC Hydro and the provincial government of the day.”

Rideout said people should be very concerned. “Electromagnetic radiation affects all living organisms at a cellular level and manifests differently depending on the individual,” she said.

Hans Parmar, a spokesperson for ISED, said microcells must undergo prior public consultation before installation.

Departmental procedures applies to all types of antenna systems, regardless of size and type of service provided, he said. “While the procedures state that some installations may be exempt from consultation, it may still be prudent for companies to do so,” he said. “Regardless of whether an exclusion applies, companies must still be able to demonstrate that they meet Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 requirements before their proposed installation is put in place.”

Health Canada said on its website that Safety Code 6 considers all peer-reviewed scientific studies. “The exposure limits in Safety Code 6 are set well below the lowest exposure level (threshold) at which any scientifically-established, adverse health effect occurs and take into account the total exposure from all sources of [radio-frequency] energy.”

 

Just Posted

Belmont senior girls volleyball team heads to provincials

Team set its sights on repeating as champions

City of Colwood considers plastic bag ban

Bylaw must be brought forward for public input before adoption

Widow of chef killed by SUV gives birth to twin boys

Khushal Rana was struck and killed by an out-of-control vehicle on Gorge Road last month

Songhees youth among those recognized by province for achievement in sport

Team BC athletes in North American Indigenous Games, Canada Summer Games recognized

Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second… Continue reading

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vic High students take Saanich-reared comic’s words on mental illness to heart

School counsellors see uptick in visits after Kevin Breel relays his depression story

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

This week’s wanted in Greater Victoria for Nov. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read