Salmon Arm council supports the placement of a 60-metre (200 ft.) cellular tower on agricultural property along 20th Avenue SE.
The tower, proposed by Cypress Land Services on behalf of Rogers, will be placed on the south end of a roughly 30-hectare parcel of land at 2200-20th Ave. SE. The property, which includes a residence and agricultural development on the north end, is zoned acreage reserve and designated the same in the city’s official community plan. It is surrounded by Crown land, the new municipal cemetery and private parcels.
The tower will be coloured to better blend in with its surroundings, and it will be situated near existing hydro lines.
City support follows a mandatory community consultation process that included notification of neighbours, signage and advertising in the Salmon Arm Observer.
Public feedback, provided in council’s agenda, was predominantly opposed to the tower, with concerns largely revolving around health and safety and proximity to neighbouring houses and Hillcrest Elementary. Cypress Land Services, responding on Roger’s behalf to all of the submitted concerns, notes the tower will be located more than 1.2 kilometres away from the school, while the nearest residence approximately 0.6 of a kilometre away.
“The location is considered appropriate because it is set back from residential areas and is partially screened by existing trees in the forested area where it is proposed to be located,” writes Tawny Verigin, Cypress Land Services municipal affairs specialist.
Regarding health and safety, Verigin offered the following: “Please know that Rogers relies on experts to set standards for safety. In Canada, Health Canada has established Safety Code 6 to ensure public safety. Safety Code 6 was updated in 2015 based on all credible science in this field done around the world. It is considered by Health Canada to be current and valid for protecting the health and safety of all Canadians.”
In 2013, Rogers proposed to put a cell tower on private property at at 2391-20th Ave. SE. There was public backlash to the proposal and it did not proceed. From this, the city chose to develop policy guiding the placement of cell towers, which necessitated the public consultation process for the current proposal.
This time around, council expressed no concern with the tower or its proposed location.
“Probably within the city, it would be hard to find a better location than this one,” commented Coun. Alan Harrison. “And cell phones now are becoming an integral part of people’s lives, so they expect and want them to operate well, and of course data, amounts of data are increasing. So I think the location is as rural as you can get inside the city and serving the purpose the company needs.”
Mayor Nancy Cooper thanked Rogers for staying involved in the process and responding to public concerns instead of “leaving us to deal with it.”
“You stayed involved and answered all the questions, and I know there was lots of them, so I really appreciate that,” said Cooper.