RDN wary of tower, smart meters

Spirited meeting at the Regional District of Nanaimo touches on concerns

Residents crowd the last RDN meeting to oppose cell towers and smart meters.

Residents crowd the last RDN meeting to oppose cell towers and smart meters.

Residents packed the Regional District of Nanaimo board chambers Tuesday night to show their anger over two related issues: a proposed Telus Cell Tower in Cedar and B.C. Hydro’s plan to replace existing electricity meters with wireless, so-called smart meters.

Delegations at the meeting stated the cell tower, proposed for 1710 Woobank Rd. in Cedar, would be in close proximity to residences and an elementary school, and the radio frequency emitted would be a health hazard. The tower would also be too close to endangered blue heron nests and within 300 meters of a new green development plan, the audience heard.

A representative from Telus spoke at the meeting as well — receiving some disagreeing shouts from the crowd — claiming the tower is well below Health Canada’s permissible radio frequency levels and will improve wireless service for residents, businesses, first responders and others. The speaker requested the board direct staff to provide a letter to Telus acknowledging that cell towers are allowed under zoning bylaws and are under federal jurisdiction for approval.

Following the presentation some residents stood, wanting to ask questions, but were told they were out of order by RDN Chair Joe Stanhope.

This made some residents angry, yelling they were being ignored.

An RDN staff member offered to talk to them outside the chambers and explain.

The police were called as a precaution as one resident kept insisting loudly that the meeting wasn’t following Robert’s Rules of Order — a common outline of how meetings are run.

While many residents were outside the chamber, Area A director (Cedar area) Joe Burnett made a motion that a letter be sent to Industry Canada advising them that the RDN is opposed to a cell tower being installed at the location and request they deny Telus’ application.

The motion carried.

The RDN was able to stop

the installation of a Telus cell tower on Hammond Bay Road some months ago, as it was on RDN land.

The current application for the cell tower in Cedar is on private land however, so the RDN could only make recommendations.

ourcy, Mudge Islands) Gisele Rudischer made another motion for the RDN to  develop a cell tower placement protocol.

The motion passed.

Director Rudischer also made a motion that the RDN request a moratorium on the mandatory installation of wireless smart meters until the issues identified could be independently assessed.

She also asked that the RDN support a resolution made by the City of Colwood to discuss the issue at the upcoming Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention.

“There is for sure no unequivocal way we can say this is safe technology,” Rudischer said at the meeting, “and until we can say that we have an obligation to protect the health of our constituents.”

Parksville councillor Marc Lefebvre said he supported the motion as there were many health concerns, among other issues surrounding the meters. Director Jim Kipp with the City if Nanaimo said he also had concerns with the meters and their emissions.

“I know if I put a cat in my microwave it’s dead real quick right, so the stuff’s powerful, radio frequency …this stuff is dangerous.”

He said it was best they err on the side of caution, and other councillors agreed.

Area H (Qualicum Bay,Bowser area) director Dave Bartram and Area G (French Creek area) director Joe Stanhope both said they would like more information and to hear B.C. Hydro’s side of the story, and did not support the motion.

The motion passed and many councillors were hopeful that information and meaningful discussion would be presented at the UBCM.

 

Just Posted

(File photo)
The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville 2020 annual report now ready for public feedback

Documents can be viewed online; comments or questions to be submitted before noon on July 5, 2021

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk at school and in the community was identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

Most Read