With three cellular towers planned for Telus, two in Salmon Arm and one in Canoe, city council has been asked its opinion on the locations.
Corey Paiement, the city’s director of development services, explained Monday to the city’s development and planning services meeting that Standard Land Company Inc. plans to install the towers on behalf of Telus and, as required by Industry Canada, which governs such installations, must consult with the city.
The first of the three towers is proposed for 1481 – 10th Ave. SW, a parcel near the Mall at Piccadilly that contains part of a parking lot and an empty storage yard. To the east is the remainder of the parking lot and storage yard, to the west a vacant parcel zoned residential, to the south 10th Avenue SW as well as a larger parcel with a mix of vacant land and, to the north, Adams Lake Indian Band property, Lot 7.
The tower would be 29 metres high; for comparison, the Shaw Centre building is about 19 metres.
Also to come to council later is the proposal for a 45-metre tower at 6790-56th Street NE in the Lyman Hill area of Canoe.
A third tower, at 14.9 metres, is planned for 2890 – 10th Ave. (Trans-Canada Highway) NE, but, according to Industry Canada guidelines, will not be required to come before council.
Although a report from city staff noted that staff would prefer property zoned industrial, the proposed location is preferable to others. Staff also point out that Industry Canada has the authority on the proposal, not the city.
“From a land use compatibility perspective, the current and anticipated or future land use patterns in and around the proposed site may not be the best option but may be substantially better than siting the towers within urbanized, residential areas of the city,” stated the planning department report.
Coun. Alan Harrison agreed.
“This is not a debate about cell phones and whether it’s good or bad… It’s about a cell phone tower and is this a good location. I think it’s a really good spot to put it,” he said, noting it’s not in a residential zone and is reasonably central. “From my perspective, I don’t think saying we don’t want a tower there will help people with their cell phones. If people come and say they don’t want it there, I would say, where do you want to put it?”
Harrison was referring to comments from Coun. Chad Eliason that he expects to see a good turnout at the next meeting from people concerned about the towers.
“It sounds a little like smart meters,” said Eliason. “This is where we’d like to put them and you have no authority.”
He asked where existing towers are and Paiement said there is one on top of the Telus building downtown and likely others on mountaintops around Salmon Arm, such as Bastion.
Coun. Ken Jamieson said he’d like to learn more about emissions when a Standard Land Company representative comes to the next council meeting. A rep will attend the afternoon session of the June 25 meeting to answer questions from council.
As part of the required consultation process, the proponent must notify land occupants within an area three times the height of the tower.
Council voted unanimously to forward the issue to the next meeting. Coun. Marg Kentel was absent.