Kings County Councillor Wayne Atwater wants to tell Industry Canada to take care of the entire process for siting telecommunications towers: the federal body has the authority to overrule any council decisions on the matter. K.Starratt
BY KIRK STARRATT
Kings County Advertiser
An application for a cell tower in east Berwick has been endorsed by Kings County council, but at least one councillor is fed up with the process
Wayne Atwater thinks the county should tell Industry Canada to take care of similar matters from now on.
Planner Dawn Sutherland presented a staff report to county council on an application to site a telecommunication facility, including a cell phone tower, in Berwick at the February council session. The 246-foot, self-supported steel tower would be located on Morse’s Farm on Maple Street. There would be an eight-foot security fence and trees would be retained along the edges of the woods. The subject property is located in the Agricultural (A1) zone on what the county considers Class 5, or low capability, soil.
The tower should improve existing portage phone coverage for Bell Mobility customers in the vicinity, including along Highway 1 and Highway 101. She said area users and the network designer have identified the requirement for a telecommunication tower in the area due to a number of “dropped calls.”
A public meeting was held at the Berwick fire hall in August with 18 people attending. Bell Mobility has responded to concerns expressed in keeping with what Industry Canada deems “reasonable and relevant.” The tower would emit radio frequencies or RF’s that are “part of everyday life,” and within Safety Code 6 regulations, Sutherland said.
The county’s planning advisory committee recommended council support the application. “With this type of application, there is no first or second reading,” she said. “Council either supports or doesn’t support the recommendation to Industry Canada.”
A license from Industry Canada is needed for the facility and final jurisdiction rests with the federal government body. Sutherland said it may or may not accept council’s recommendation.
Councillor Wayne Atwater asked if this were similar to the recent application for a tower in Victoria Harbour. Sutherland said this tower would be bigger and would be for cellphones, not high speed internet, and pointed out there didn’t seem to be the same level of public opposition to the Berwick tower.
Atwater asked if Industry Canada could overrule council’s recommendation. Sutherland confirmed the federal agency does have authority over the matter. Atwater called it a “great system. “Why don’t we just tell Industry Canada to take care of the towers?” Atwater said. “What a retarded system we’ve got.”