Sooke council seeks more info on cell towers

Sooke council seeks more info on cell towers

More telecommunication towers planned in Sooke region

District of Sooke staff will compile a special report to council to address concerns of more proposed telecommunication towers in the region.

The report, which will be ready for the July 10 council meeting, precipitated from a mix of questions and concerns from the public on Monday regarding the addition of a 50-metre tower proposed by Freedom Mobile at 2614 Otter Point Rd, and others like it, which intend to improve wireless voice and data coverage in Sooke.

Public concern is nothing new when it comes to radio towers, mostly revolving around aesthetics, health and safety, said Mayor Maja Tait.

“How things look are a concern for some, for others, there’s a concern over the technology and whether it’s safe, and if they are as harmful as impacts of the transmissions from mobile sites,” Tait said, adding that on the flip side, others feel that as the population grows, the technology needs to advance and keep pace with it.

Several service providers also noted that a lot of the challenges have to do with local terrain and topography such as the hills, and valleys, which play a significant role in the quality of cell reception. This, itself, is why the pressure is on for Sooke to evolve its wireless technology.

“You want your cellphone to work. It’s part of emergency servicing and keeping pace with technology,” Tait said.

With the report, Freedom Mobile will have a chance to respond to the public, said Coun. Rick Kasper, though he was surprised at the existing flock of radio towers in the region, which sit at around 40 or so.

“I didn’t realize there were so many,” he said.

Under the Radiocommunication Act, Industry Canada has jurisdiction in the licensing of antenna systems, but proponents must consult with local government and the public.