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City initiates action on cell towers
The City of Salmon Arm will be pursuing a policy to guide the future placement of cell phone towers.
Responding to letters of concern over a possible cell tower going up in the Hillcrest area near the school and residences, Coun. Marg Kentel told council Monday that she had spoken with Industry Canada and learned the city could have a policy that might give council more say in where cell towers go in the community. Currently, Industry Canada only requires council’s input for towers taller than 15 metres.
“What he said was that we can have a guideline and they will listen to the guideline if it’s realistic,” said Kentel. “I think just even saying, OK, there’s another location, put it further back on the property so it’s further away from schools and day cares and families, that certainly would be logical.”
Kentel questioned why Rogers hasn’t responded to public complaints or the city. Development Services director Kevin Pearson confirmed staff have no idea yet as to what’s being proposed.
He told council the City of Langley has a policy that requires 80 per cent approval of neighbours within 500 metres of a proposed tower site in order to get the city’s endorsement.
Couns. Ken Jamieson, Denise Reimer and Alan Harrison were enthusiastically supportive of a policy that would give council, and residents, some input. Harrison suggested the policy target towers under 15 metres.
“I do think that if we are able to have some say on cell towers that are less than 15 metres, between 10 and 15 metres, I think we should seize that opportunity,” said Harrison, “Because they’re not suitable in all places, in my view… and the Lyman Hill one is a perfect example. It was in the sight line of everybody who lived on Lyman Hill.”
Kentel argued council shouldn’t be complacent in this matter and said she liked the Langley policy. She suggested that Rogers might back off a bit knowing the city is putting its own policy in place.
“As far as the community members that have called me, there is another location, just like there was in Canoe,” she added.
Harrison suggested the policy could create a win-win situation for the city where cellular service could be provided with towers in more acceptable locations.
For more on a neighbourhood protest regarding a proposed cell tower on 20th Ave. SE, see A2.