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Cell tower policy to await new federal rules

Close to 30 people came to the city’s planning meeting Monday morning to hear a report on new ‘communication system installations,’ specifically cell phone towers.

They heard that city staff had prepared a report requested by council Oct. 28 by researching other municipal policies and by considering correspondence from citizens.

“I wouldn’t even call it a draft policy, I’d call it an idea for a policy,” said Kevin Pearson, director of development services and co-author of the report.

He noted that municipal government has no say on siting or health matters concerning towers. ‘Safety Code 6’ in Health Canada’s Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines’ is the standard that Interior Health follows.

Pearson reported that two weeks ago, the federal government issued a news release stating it is making changes to cell tower placement rules that will, among other things, require companies to: “consult communities on all commercial tower installations, regardless of height.”

Asked about the tower proposed for the Hillcrest area, Pearson said he spoke to Rogers before Christmas and they said they would let him know of their plans.

Pearson said the MP’s office informed him Industry Canada’s revised consultation protocol is expected to be completed in about two months.

Council had many questions regarding the staff report, particularly Coun. Alan Harrison, who suggested that if citizens have health concerns regarding cell towers, they direct them to Health Canada about Safety Code 6.

Couns. Chad Eliason and Debbie Cannon were absent, but those present agreed that Salmon Arm should have its own policy, one that should be finalized once Industry Canada’s new protocol is out.

 

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