One cell tower’s rejection is another’s approval

Sooke council backs plan for Otter Road telecommunications tower

In a little over two months, Sooke council has gone from rejecting a proposed Freedom Mobile telecommunications tower in one part of the district to approving another.

Mayor Maja Tait broke a 3-3 tie on Monday to support the installation of a 50-metre tower in the 2600 block of Otter Point Road.

“It’s challenging because I know some of our residents don’t want to host this, but I also know a lot depend on the service,” she said.

In July, council rejected a similar bid to construct a telecommunications tower in the in the 5000 block of Sooke Road.

Freedom Mobile is launching 3G and LTE networks in multiple markets across Canada.

Freedom is required by Industry Canada to consult with land use authorities in siting new wireless mobile base station tower locations. Industry Canada makes the decision whether the telecommunications tower will be built.

Most neighbours on Sooke Road and Otter Point Road oppose the applications, citing health, aesthetics, and property value declines. They also presented petitions against the tower’s construction to council.

“None of this is within our statutory authority. It’s not like we adopted a bylaw or a policy that’s going to affect somebody. It’s just going through an input process. The decision-making authority is beyond us,” said Coun. Rick Kasper.

Kasper and Tait rejected the Sooke Road tower mainly due to aesthetics, and both said they take each application on a site-by-site basis. Most councillors backed Health Canada data on the health safety of cell towers, despite residents’ concerns of health risks.

Kasper said when the Otter Point plan was brought to council, Freedom Mobile complied with the demands of council.

In a report to council, Freedom Mobile said the Otter Point telecommunications tower is 1,000 per cent lower than the prescribed limits set by Health Canada for exposure, and the sight lines of the tower are “significantly minimized” by existing tree cover.

“The addition of the proposed site and launch of Freedom Mobile’s network in the Greater Victoria area (including Sooke) will provide an additional choice for wireless consumers with access to lower rates,” the report stated.

Coun. Kerrie Reay was the only member of council to back both telecommunication towers.

In researching data, Reay said websites from the Canadian Cancer Society to the World Health Organization suggested health concerns were minimal.

“I’m trying to step back and take the emotional side out of it,” she said. “I just feel with everything I’ve read and all the various sites … I do support what’s requested to council by Freedom Mobility.”

klaird@blackpress.ca

Just Posted

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Business is booming as Black Press gears up for Victoria career fair

One stop shop for questions about entering the workforce, finding work experience

Sooke Road closed in both directions after morning crash

Crash is five km west of Gillespie Road

Only half of Victoria’s accessible parking meets basic standards: report

Father of a child with disabilities suggests solutions for parking design flaws

Olympic path takes new directions for Saanich’s Matt Sharpe

Sharpe wins ITU mixed relay medal with Canadian teammates

UPDATE: Lisa Helps re-elected as mayor of Victoria

Nine people were seeking the mayor’s seat for the City of Victoria and 29 candidates hoped to be chosen for council

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

The online auction features 22 items from Hawking, including his doctoral thesis on the origins of the universe, with the sale scheduled for 31 October and 8 November.

In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal’s entourage.

Explosion at homeless camp causes brush fire on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews haul hundreds of metres of hose down ravine

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur waives right to preliminary hearing

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

N.B. village faces backlash after council raises ‘straight flag’

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson says the flag met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Most Read