City to revisit issue of cell tower sites

A city staff report on cell tower placement will be coming to Salmon Arm council in October.

A city staff report on cell tower placement will be coming to Salmon Arm council in October.

In October of last year, city council asked staff to develop a policy that would guide cell tower placement in the municipality.

At last Monday’s council meeting, development services director Kevin Pearson explained this stemmed from complaints about a possible cell tower going up just off 20th Ave. SE. Pearson proceeded to provide an update on the policy.

“Right when we had a proposed policy drafted and ready to go to you, the federal government announced back in the spring that they’re changing their consultation policy,” he said.

“It took approximately until July for them to confirm that a new policy has been adopted and is in place.”

Staff have since reviewed the updated federal policy, as well as consulted with industry and looked at new related technologies, and Pearson said a report and recommendation will be coming to council next month.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be recommending that we go ahead, proceed with the new federal policy for consultation and that all health matters and concerns be deferred to Health Canada, who are ultimately responsible for the health aspects of cell towers and electromagnetic radiation,” said Pearson.

Coun. Ken Jamieson stressed his preference for a policy where the city would at least have some say as to where towers are placed.

“That is what a lot of the people who are speaking against the proliferation of towers, that’s one of the things they’re most concerned about, is where the towers are located,” said Jamieson. “They would like to see something – and I tend to agree with them –  in a policy that would say that towers are not inserted in certain locations. I know we can write that into a policy. Whether Industry Canada listens is another matter.”

Jamieson went on to say he would like to see a process where the public can have a voice to the federal government through council.