Telus surprised by RDN stance on cell tower for French Creek

In the end, says French Creek rep and board chair Joe Stanhope, the decision about the tower lies with Industry Canada

ny is looking at its options for increased cell phone coverage in the French Creek area after the Regional District of Nanaimo’s board of directors flip-flopped on its support for a tower on Sunrise Drive.

Electoral area directors — basically the board minus Nanaimo reps — had recommended the RDN send a letter of concurrence to Industry Canada saying the RDN had no problem with Telus’ tower plans. A couple of weeks later, after pleas from local residents, the entire board decided to not only reject the concurrence suggestion, but ask Industry Canada to force Telus into a number of actions before granting approval for the tower.

“We’re surprised the regional district would go back on its position to support us in investing to build a new wireless tower in response to customer demand,” said Telus spokesperson Liz Sauve. “This makes it challenging for us to move forward.”

There have been calls for better cell coverage in the Sandpiper/Eaglecrest/Chartwell areas of French Creek and Qualicum Beach for years, from residents and local government officials. Earlier this year, Oceanside RCMP Staff Sgt. Brian Hunter told the RDN board he was pleased to hear about plans for a tower on Sunrise Drive.

“It’s difficult when you have a major police event and have to communicate through cell phones and they don’t work,” Hunter said. “It (construction of the tower) will enhance the safety of the community.”

Joe Stanhope is the French Creek rep at the RDN and the board chair.

“I don’t think it’s a case of reneging,” Stanhope said this week. “The consultation was not done properly.”

Sauve said Industry Canada asks that companies consult with anyone who lives within an area that’s three times the height of the proposed tower. In this case, that would mean consultation of residents who live within 52 meters of the proposed site. Sauve said Telus went beyond Industry Canada’s requirements, expanding the consultation area to 80 metres from the site.

In one of the motions passed last week, the RDN asked Industry Canada to hold off on its approval of the tower until Telus consults with everyone who lives within 500 metres of the tower.

“We’re going to take another look at the area, but this makes our capital planning for the area challenging,” said Sauve.

Telus has already spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on the project for the tower that will cost $400,000, said Sauve.

Last week, two area residents made a plea to the RDN’s board, asking them to reconsider sending the letter of concurrence.  Kelly 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.”

This week, Stanhope said the decision on where any tower will be located (in the RDN’s jurisdiction) is in the hands of Industry Canada and likely the federal Minister of Industry, James Moore.

— with files from Carli Berry, Candace Wu

Just Posted

History: The architectural legacy of Sam Little

Designs leave legacy in Qualicum Beach, other Island locales

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

Finalists announced for annual Business Achievement Awards

Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce honours individuals, businesses

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

RDN dealing with high interest in backyard cannabis production

New policy proposed to address challenges with Health Canada licences

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

B.C. man in wheelchair following police shooting

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Most Read