County approves North Mountain cell tower replacement

Kirk Starratt
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Industry Canada has final say

By Kirk Starratt

A new telecommunications tower could soon be erected to replace an existing structure in Arlington.

Although the federal body responsible for telecommunications structures, Industry Canada, will have the final say, Kings County council has given its approval in accordance with municipal policy.

During discussion, the fact the municipality has little control over the siting of such towers again came to the forefront. Coun. Wayne Atwater said he doesn’t see the rationale in having council “sit around and listen to people beat you up” when the buck stops with the federal government.

“What a waste of our time,” Atwater said. “We have absolutely no say.”

He said Victoria Harbour is a good example. There was a controversy there a few years ago when Eastlink was putting in a network of wireless Internet towers and the community opposed the location. Council voted against it and sent the recommendation to Industry Canada, only to be overruled in the end.

“Let (Industry Canada) hold the meetings,” Atwater said.

Coun. Dick Killam said it would be more appropriate for MPs to be present for public consultation sessions so “they can take the heat head-on.”

Deputy Warden Janet Newton said she thinks the municipality’s public consultation meetings for proposed telecommunications towers have great value. She pointed out not all municipalities have such a policy and it was council that decided to adopt the process.

Newton said the public consultation held at Ross Creek was a “very positive meeting” and two people who spoke got reassurances.

Planner Aaron Murnaghan said the new tower would be built just north of Highway 358 in Arlington. It’s meant to replace a tower located on an adjacent lot. Bell Mobility deemed the existing tower insufficient in design to hold additional equipment necessary for service upgrades in the area. The current tower site is too small to accommodate the necessary infrastructure upgrades. The current tower would be decommissioned and demolished following construction of the new tower.

Murnaghan said the proponent has provided documentation to the municipality, including Health Canada Safety Code 6 requirements and their ability to meet these.

The new tower would be slightly further away from the road and would be capable of holding additional equipment. Other service providers could co-locate there in the future, as is encouraged by Industry Canada. The 90-metre, guyed tower would be built 320 metres from the nearest home, more than twice the recommended setback.

Organizations: Industry Canada, Kings County council, Bell Mobility Health Canada

Geographic location: Arlington, North Mountain, Victoria Harbour Ross Creek

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