RDN tries to put the brakes on Telus cell tower plans in French Creek

Directors want Telus do do more consultation with residents who live close to the site of the proposed structure

CARLI BERRY

news@pqbnews.com

The proposed location of a cell tower in French Creek is still causing concern for some local residents.

Two of them voiced their opinions with Regional District of Nanaimo directors on Tuesday. They say they are not happy with plans to put the tower at 1421 Sunrise Dr.

Kelly Olson asked the RDN’s Electoral Area Planning Committee to revoke the board’s approval of the location and asked for a hold of all tower sitings until a policy is prepared and other sites are considered.

In March, the RDN passed a motion stating that the board was satisfied with the Telus consultation process, but Olson said the majority of the people who voted on the tower’s location live outside the area.

Telus did not consider the impact on the residents in the direct vicinity of the tower, Olson said in a statement to the RDN.

(The NEWS was unable to get comment from Telus for this story by deadline Wednesday afternoon).

Tricia Thomas is another local resident who said she is directly affected by the tower’s location.

“I live right down the road,” Thomas said. “We shouldn’t let other residents’ decisions affect our community.”

Olson said the people in the direct vicinity of the tower do not want it there.

“Putting it (the cell tower) in the middle of a subdivision when (we) don’t know the effects is not wise,” she said.

According to Health Canada “Health concerns are sometimes expressed by people who live or work near cell phone tower… Yet, the consensus of the scientific community is that RF (radio frequency) energy from cell phone towers is too low to cause adverse health effects in humans.”

However, Olson said  “We can’t take the chance with our children.”

Olson said there was little opposition to the location because people were not aware of the plan. It wasn’t until the tower’s proposed location was published in a NEWS story in March that people became aware of it, Olson said.

Motions from the electoral area committee sent to, and passed by, the RDN’s entire board of directors on Tuesday night rejected a Rogers Communications plan to erect a tower on nearby Drew Road, urged Telus and Rogers to work together on one tower and also asked Industry Canada to withhold approval for the Sunrise Drive tower until property owners within 500 metres of the proposed site have been given notice and an opportunity to provide input.

“I want the least amount of impact on the community but also recognize there is a need for them (cell towers),” Olson said. She also said she was glad that the RDN listened to her concerns.

“At the end of the day, we want to protect everyone’s interests,” she said.

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