Brian Summers stands beside the 15-metre radio tower that has drawn opposition from several neighbours. Dan Ebenal/News Staff

Saanich radio tower approved over neighbours opposition

Neighbours contend 15-metre tower interferes with wifi signals

When Brian Summers gets on his amateur radio, he’s not looking to strike up a conversation with people a world away. The Saanich resident uses his amateur radio to track the sun’s affect on radio signals.

“I’m very interested in how radio propagation, which is how signals go from point to another, will change throughout a 24-hour period,” he said. “It changes through the year, through the season, through the 11-year sunspot cycle, because the sun has such a tremendous effect on what we do here on Earth, not only with radio but with other things as well.”

While a lot of time and effort goes into Summers’ hobby, the real work may have been just getting the approval for the antenna that makes it all possible.

Summers managed to overcome the opposition of some of his neighbours to erect a 15-metre radio tower in his backyard at 3451 Salsbury Way – just in time for one of the biggest solar events in years: the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

“There was a lot of written arguments and objections,” said Summers, who received a letter from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada last month informing him the process was complete and his application had been approved.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that. I had a tower for 18 years in Ottawa, three in Calgary, 16 in Richmond, and never had an issue with neighbours until I came here,” he said, adding he found the formal consultation process educational.

“I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. It went on for too long, quite frankly, and people get very emotional about this,” said Summers, pointing to one of his neighbours who has draped tarps and blankets over the fence between the properties. “It looks like Jacob’s coat of many colours.”

Another neighbour who collected names for a petition against the radio tower is Adele Caird. When she previously voiced her opposition to the tower with Summers, he told her that she would get used to it, like the hydro poles that checker the neighbourhood.

“No I’m not used to it, not at all,” said Caird, adding the antenna has disrupted wifi reception for several nearby residents.

“It keeps going off and on. We can’t get a signal, sometimes we can’t even get into Netflix,” said Caird, adding she never previously had problems with reception in the 32 years she’s lived in her home.

Caird said she is in contact with another neighbour who plans to pursue legal action to have the tower removed.

Summers said he suggested that any residents who experience interruptions in their wifi should keep track of the date, time and symptoms, and he will check them against the computer log of his radio use.

“If there is a correlation I will be more than happy to work with their internet supplier to come up with a solution,” he said. “That’s part of my responsibility as a radio operator.”

Despite the static he’s received from neighbours, Summers is happy he can continue with the hobby he has pursued for more than 60 years.

“I grew up in England after [the Second] World War and most houses would have a radio with a shortwave band and I was fascinated listening to the propaganda from the Voice of America and Radio Moscow,” he said “I guess it’s just an interest that’s stayed with me throughout the years.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Brian Summers at the dials of his amateur radio, a hobby he has pursued for more than 60 years. (Dan Ebenal/News Staff)

Just Posted

B.C. government invests $1.9 billion in community housing

14,000 mixed-income affordable units to be built with local housing providers, advocates

Complaint filed against B.C. naturopath who treated boy with rabid dog saliva

BC Naturopathic Association questions Dr. Anke Zimmermann’s conduct on recent treatments

Girls soccer team kicks off at Sooke school

Squad hits pitch for first time eight years

Manak calls Const. Ian Jordan fallen hero

Late Victoria cop mourned at funeral by officers from numerous local, out-of-town jurisdictions

North Saanich added to list of places that want tax exemption

District seeks meeting with Province about alternatives

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

B.C. First Nations get clarity on fishing rights from top court

Nations call federal government to settle fishing rights ‘within the true meaning of reconciliation’

Most Read