Cadboro Bay United Church is considering striking a deal with Telus that would allow for the installation of a cellular antenna on the church grounds.
Discussions between the two organizations began in early 2012, and the church says 80 per cent of its congregation supports the plan.
“We have technical approval from the various governing bodies because the antenna falls within established guidelines and now it comes down to how it might be integrated into the building profile,” reads a release on the church’s website.
The proposal to integrate the antenna involves constructing a new bell tower on the church and installing the device inside.
Jonathan Stoppi, chair of the Cadboro Bay Residents Association, says the discussion is becoming quite heated in the community.
“The people who are against this are vehemently against this,” he said. “This is not something (the residents association) could express an opinion on – we have neither the science, nor is it a board issue. This would be set up on private property, which is entirely within the rights of the owner of the property.”
Stoppi says cell reception is spotty, at best, in Cadboro Bay. But discussion about improving cell reception in the community has happened in the past.
“It’s been going on for several years because the community has consistently, in the past at least, voted down proposals for a transmission tower in the area. That’s been the situation for quite a few years now,” he said.
A website has been set up by opponents to the plan, touting possible health effects of exposure to radio frequencies.
The church, in its release online, says a community meeting will be held to discuss the options and to get feedback from the neighbourhood.
It says a consultative process with neighbours will happen to consult on the structure.
Cadboro Bay United Church did not return requests for comment.