Opposition to Communication Towers
Proposed tower site on June 9, 2005
"Recommendation 2: That Industry Canada should ensure that the proponents of significant antenna structures be required to consult directly with the citizens who may be the most directly impacted by the establishment or modification of the structures.
Recommendation 8: That all land-use consultation policies should provide a framework for a dispute resolution process. In particular, the land-use authority should be given the opportunity to reply to the submission tendered to Industry Canada by the antenna proponent. Any new consultation policies should give Industry Canada a more formal and active role in circumstances where local consultations reach an impasse.
Recommendation 9: That Industry Canada should create a counterpart document to CPC-2-0-03 for use by land-use authorities and citizens. This document should explain antenna-siting issues and Industry Canada's consultation processes from a local perspective.
Recommendation 24: That when Industry Canada imposes notice obligations upon antenna proponents, as a first step to land-use or public consultations, that the antenna proponent be required to provide basic details within the notice about the plans for the marking and lighting of the antenna tower or other supporting structure.
Recommendation 30: That land-use planners work with wireless network service providers to establish local planning policies that identify and designate local areas suitable for the siting of multiple antenna facilities and adopt planning policies (such as fast-track approvals) that provide incentives for service providers to locate there"
This report, currently reviewed by Industry Canada, makes 34 major recommendations and focuses on 6 policy issues, many of them dealing directly with the process of land-use consultation. In the meantime, the Environmental Process, Radiofrequency Fields and Land-Use Consultation Circular provides directives.
The only apparent justification for proposing the 150 ft high communication tower within a few hundred feet of private lake-side properties in a wilderness setting when there are other suitable crown-land sites available is the low development cost.Road access and hydro are within + 400-800 feet. The disadvantage is that the tower would clear the trees by 80 feet and become the dominant feature this side of the lake when only 700 feet to the west of it.The tower would be within a few hundred feet of home ownersstrongly opposed to a visible steel structure there. It is worthwhile to note, that, depending on the antenna designs, those might clear the top of the tower by another 20 feet, making the overall height of the tower with antennas 170 feet. This tower, sitting on top of a ridge, would be extremely visible - changing the solitary beauty of the Lake forever.
Land-use authorities provide the only possible protection communities or individuals can appeal to for support when opposing the construction and erection of broadcasting towers. We would not conceive allowing a night club to be built across an elementary school, allow industrial development in the midst of single residential zoning environments nor would we support the installation of a communication tower next to a church steeple, mosque or heritage building. We would not even allow this to happen even if no other alternate sites would exist. It should be equally inappropriate to erect a communication tower that dominates the skyline in the midst of residential lake shore properties in a rural environment, especially when other good sites are available nearby.
In our view, Bell Mobility's decision to locate near the shores of Oxtongue Lake is based on its own financial considerations. From a technical or engineering point of view, many other potential sites in the area are suitable for a microwave tower that would impact much less on the surrounding community.We have seen on numerous occasions how the erection of communication towers has a long-lasting negative effect on communities: It agitates people, good neighbours and friends become strangers and communities become divided. The tranquility of the landscape is altered and a once peaceful settlement has lost its appeal. These are some of the long-term effects that are often ignored and yet, they take a long time to heal.
Bell Mobility's selection process for the currently proposed site at Oxtongue Lake does not appear to be compatible with its own corporate philosophy that states:
"…We are committed to supporting sustainable development by integrating our business activities with environmental, social and economic responsibilities, minimizing, where we can, any negative impact these activities may generate…"
That Bell Mobility identify 2 other potential sites, keeping the expressed concerns of ratepayers in mind;
That Bell Mobility engages the local community in a transparent dialogue;
That a time-limited consultation period be established;
That the consultative dialogue take place before winter so as to involve also people living in summer cottages;
That concealed antenna support structures be consider where the height or the visibility of towers may give rise to strong objections;
That the members of the community identify their priorities clearly since compromises will have to be made by all sides;
That the local land-use authority assume the role of mediator, balancing the interests as expressed of the community and Bell Mobility before entertaining support for the current proposal;
That the land-use authorities establish site selection criteria and procedures should another application for a microwave tower be brought forward in future.
This report was submitted by the Alpha-Beta Communications Group Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario on June 27, 2005.