Here is a copy of the presentation I gave to Maple Ridge Council in March of 2015 requesting them to undertake some updates due to changes at Industry Canada around rules on communications towers Presentation to Maple Ridge Council on Cell Towers
The updating work is necessary to bring the City of Maple Ridge’s local tower siting protocol up to date in line with some changes made by Industry Canada at the Federal level.
Of particular concern is the unique ability of Telus, grandfathered from their days as a public utility, of taking an existing utility pole and replacing it with a 15 metre pole. That pole with cellular transmission infrastructure on it, can serve distances of up to one Kilometre. There are applications now going through for the approvals for several towers ready to go located at Laity and 123rd avenue, 216th and 124th avenue and 203rd and Golden Ears way. All of these locations are unnecessary and can be easily served by the high impact tower located on the Laity farm. That tower can serve a 10km range. Telus hasn’t made any effort to colocate onto this tower, clearly not honouring Maple Ridge’s local siting protocol. The reason they don’t want to go there is that this tower is owned by an independent tower provider. Should Council approve the tower applications from Telus (who presumptuously already installed all that is necessary to turn on services at two of these locations without going through any proper and public process) this will set precedent for Telus to do so all over our community. If one high impact tower can serve a 10 KM radius, its obvious that with Telus’ towers only serving a 1 km range, how many of these will be required to provide the same service level as Rogers, Wind etc who pay for services from the Laity Farm site. Telus in locating on utility poles are trying to avoid paying on going fees to anyone, avoid applications and inspection by local authorities as well not honour the Industry Canada principle of Colocation.
We all want better cellular and data coverage. More importantly the only mechanisms available to municipalities is through exercising land use authority right. The byproduct of doing so can also mitigate any health concerns from having these low towers active, and placing residents at unknown risk. Knowing that all utility service personnel that are working on power poles that have this kind of equipment, must have them turned off, and are not permitted to work within 6 metres of live transmission equipment, tells a lot. Why would we put our residents at risk when we can easily avoid this by ensuring service providers locate on high impact towers where maximum service coverage can be garnered. This avoids potential risk and additionally puts ALL service providers on a level playing field to follow Federal and Municipal approval process.
The best scenario is where ALL towers are located on city owned lands thereby generating income for the taxpayers. If possible lets get Municipal taxpayers their share of the revenue. Additionally the City can regulate form and character and ensure the applicants have proven they have attempted to colocate onto existing infrastructure. Lets ensure our citizens get the services they want and need, ensuring no unnecessary health risk by keeping towers away from our citizens homes and other existing places they gather.
Proper planning through an enforced and tightened down municipal process, will deliver what our citizens want and have a right to expect, proper services delivered throughout our borders with safety and less tower clutter for all in their homes and work places.