Metchosin residents are used to having calls dropped, walking a block to get service and relying heavily on internet connections supplementing their cellphone usage.
But some feel it’s high time for improvement.
Metchosin local Brad Doney started a petition on change.org last week to demonstrate to the big three – Telus, Rogers and Bell – that there is demand in the small community. The discussion was sparked when news broke that the B.C. government had partnered with Rogers to bring cellular coverage to the highway between Sooke and Port Renfrew.
“How ironic is it that you can go all the way out to Port Renfrew and chat on your phone the whole way, but you come to Metchosin just on the outskirts of Victoria, and there’s no service?” Doney said.
On the Metchosin Facebook page he said most people were supportive of having better cellphone coverage, which will require installation of a new tower.
In the past, there has been vocal opposition to cellphone towers, with some people expressing concerns about possible radiation.
A 2011 review process quashed a proposed Telus cell tower because residents felt the “site was totally inappropriate, it’s within a few metres of a densely populated site,” Mayor John Ranns told the Gazette at the time.
Telus said they are still working on options to improve coverage in Metchosin, one of which is an antenna on an existing wireless tower that would boost coverage. They’re still in the midst of engineering reviews, and said they would share details with the community once that review is ready.
Rogers is working with the Beecher Bay First Nation, whose reserve is just west of Metchosin, and hope to build a tower there later this year after more public consultation and with approval from that community.
Doney doesn’t have cell coverage at all at his house, so anyone who wants to get a hold of him needs his land line number too. It’s doable, he says, but with cellphones so deeply integrated into our lives it doesn’t make sense for a community so close to a city to be in a dead zone.
Something as simple as a text verification for online banking is unavailable for him.
Any of the cellphone providers are required to engage the community and demonstrate that a tower is wanted before they can install anything. So Doney figured a petition would help get things pinging.
You can find the petition here: change.org/p/telus-cell-phone-coverage-in-metchosin.