The Town of Qualicum Beach isn’t jumping on board a campaign to call for a moratorium on the installation of BC Hydro’s smart meters in the community – at least, not yet.
Responding to an August 8 delegation by Joanne Sales and Marcus Schulschen to request a moratorium on the wireless devices until safety, privacy and economic concerns were addressed, Coun. Mary Brouilette urged her colleagues to defer making a call on the issue right away.
“As far as this issue is concerned, I move we delay a response until after the matter is discussed at the UBCM,” she said.
The issue of the meters is touted as one of the hottest issues likely to hit the floor at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting, slated for Sept. 28. Brouilette wants to hear what people have to say at the convention, prior to making a firm commitment one way or the other.
She was backed up by Coun. Barry Avis, who noted a teleconference last week amongst representatives of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities saw a high level of concern about the meters being expressed.
“The board agreed the UBCM will be the place to have a full conversation on this item,” he said.
Brouilette’s motion passed, meaning the smart meter issue won’t be voted on until the Oct. 3 meeting, upon which time, said Mayor Teunis Westbroek, council will have a full discussion and vote on the matter.
Although passed unanimously, with Coun. Kent Becker absent, the deferral didn’t sit well with everybody watching the proceedings.
Schulschen said the meters, once they are installed, will impact on everyone.
“Every five seconds there is radiation emitted that goes through every house, every neighbourhood,” he said. “Everyone in this room will be affected for the rest of their lives. Every baby will be exposed. It’s false, foolish and unconstitutional.”
Resident and NDP nomination hopeful Leann Salter also spoke against council’s move, suggesting that waiting until after the UBCM to put a moratorium on the devices could prove too little, too late.
“Hydro will be starting within a month,” she said. “We don’t have an option to opt out, so this negates any constitutional rights we have. I would really like to see this council rethink waiting until the UBCM. Smart meters aren’t smart, safe or legal.”
The meters are slated to be installed as a means of better monitoring electricity use in British Columbia homes. However, they have sparked a storm of controversy across the province by people concerned about their effects.