One cell tower’s rejection is another’s approval

Sooke council backs plan for Otter Road telecommunications tower

In a little over two months, Sooke council has gone from rejecting a proposed Freedom Mobile telecommunications tower in one part of the district to approving another.

Mayor Maja Tait broke a 3-3 tie on Monday to support the installation of a 50-metre tower in the 2600 block of Otter Point Road.

“It’s challenging because I know some of our residents don’t want to host this, but I also know a lot depend on the service,” she said.

In July, council rejected a similar bid to construct a telecommunications tower in the in the 5000 block of Sooke Road.

Freedom Mobile is launching 3G and LTE networks in multiple markets across Canada.

Freedom is required by Industry Canada to consult with land use authorities in siting new wireless mobile base station tower locations. Industry Canada makes the decision whether the telecommunications tower will be built.

Most neighbours on Sooke Road and Otter Point Road oppose the applications, citing health, aesthetics, and property value declines. They also presented petitions against the tower’s construction to council.

“None of this is within our statutory authority. It’s not like we adopted a bylaw or a policy that’s going to affect somebody. It’s just going through an input process. The decision-making authority is beyond us,” said Coun. Rick Kasper.

Kasper and Tait rejected the Sooke Road tower mainly due to aesthetics, and both said they take each application on a site-by-site basis. Most councillors backed Health Canada data on the health safety of cell towers, despite residents’ concerns of health risks.

Kasper said when the Otter Point plan was brought to council, Freedom Mobile complied with the demands of council.

In a report to council, Freedom Mobile said the Otter Point telecommunications tower is 1,000 per cent lower than the prescribed limits set by Health Canada for exposure, and the sight lines of the tower are “significantly minimized” by existing tree cover.

“The addition of the proposed site and launch of Freedom Mobile’s network in the Greater Victoria area (including Sooke) will provide an additional choice for wireless consumers with access to lower rates,” the report stated.

Coun. Kerrie Reay was the only member of council to back both telecommunication towers.

In researching data, Reay said websites from the Canadian Cancer Society to the World Health Organization suggested health concerns were minimal.

“I’m trying to step back and take the emotional side out of it,” she said. “I just feel with everything I’ve read and all the various sites … I do support what’s requested to council by Freedom Mobility.”

klaird@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Tenant relocation plan recommended in Victoria city staff report

City to consider renter protection program Thursday

Oak Bay teacher wins 91.3 the Zone’s Teacher of the Month

French teacher at École Willows School wins custom Converse from Baggins and Big Wheel gift cards

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

VIDEO: Sooke man attempts to break world record in squats to fundraise for B.C. children’s hospital

‘I’m definitely a little nervous but I know in my heart that I’ll be able to finish,’ says Kris Winther

Sooke high school holds third annual 10,000 Tonight food drive

Donations can be dropped off at Village Foods, SEAPARC, Stick in the Mud coffeehouse, and EMCS

Oak Bay teacher wins 91.3 the Zone’s Teacher of the Month

French teacher at École Willows School wins custom Converse from Baggins and Big Wheel gift cards

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Local businesses help by replace aging wheels

Collabortive effort assists with charitable deliveries

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

Stiff fine for B.C. man caught trafficking bear parts

A Cache Creek resident was charged after an undercover sting operation by conservation officers

Saanich grocery store serves up chili for fundraiser

A local grocery store served delicious chili to warm the stomach and… Continue reading

Most Read