The municipality of Sooke in Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island is set to gain new cell towers from Rogers and Freedom Mobile, as district council gave its blessing for the new tower applications.
According to the Sooke News Mirror:
District council considered both applications and, although local councils do not have the right to deny cell tower applications (that’s the purview of the Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada), they are charged with writing a letter of concurrence or non-concurrence.
Non-concurrence at the local level has been known to derail applications of this kind, but council voted to support both applications.
Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada has the final say in cell tower applications, so really it was about towers meeting community plan and zoning regulations plus gaining support from district council.
The new tower locations coming will be located at:
- Rogers: 2123 Otter Point Road; new 30-metre tower to replace existing 20-metre tower
- Freedom Mobile: 6228 Sooke Road; 45-metre tower
Both Rogers and Freedom Mobile informed local residents of their proposals ahead of the September 24th council meeting, with little to no opposition to both towers.
Sooke has had mixed concerns over cell towers in the region, which generally lacks decent coverage given its location in the Western Communities. A Freedom Mobile tower proposal in Sooke was rejected by council last summer, while another was approved.
There was, however, one “angry letter” from one resident who opposed the Rogers tower, citing radiation concerns and the possible cause of cancer. Another letter, written anonymously, called the towers as “an ugly eyesore” and said “I don’t care if I have no cell service! No Tower!”, while also saying there was no scientific basis the towers would be safe.
Speaking on behalf of Rogers, Heather Oliver told Sooke council “There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, but Health Canada and a host of other organizations including the World Health Organization have studied the issue and have set the standards. These towers will be thousands of times below the acceptable standard for towers of this kind. It is a very safe technology.” She also emphasized a similar tower is also currently installed on the roof of B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.
In the end, both Rogers and Freedom Mobile applications were granted letters of concurrence by Sooke, with ISED now taking over the final applications. Both companies hope to go ahead with the new towers by winter.