For the second time now, Sooke officials have opted to submit a letter of “non-concurrence” for a Freedom Mobile Telecommunication Tower proposal at 5154 Sooke Road. The items was heavily discussed at the January 28th meetings. Comments from the public strongly indicated an overwhelming objection to the tower.
Ultimately, approval comes from Health Canada and not the District. Municipal concurrence is desired, but not necessary.
- Council opts for “non-concurrence” stance to Industry Canada re cell tower at 5154 Sooke Rd (July, 2017)
- Sooke narrowly supports Freedom Mobile cell tower on Otter Point Road (Sept, 2017)
Comments from the public included the following:
- The view of the community has not changed, nor have their concerns been addressed. The proposed tower is in the middle of the neighbourhood, and 25 people (all neighbours but for two who were currently out of town) have signed a petition objecting to it. There has been a radiation increase in the area. Canada’s guidelines are outdated. There’s already good cell reception in that area. The tower will impact property values, and impact sightlines.
- The owner of the property that would host the tower had a different perspective. Cell service from his home is sketchy. Affordable services should be welcomed. Visually, the tower was designed to blend in. And, the infrastructure needs to keep up with the growth of the town.
- An agent for Freedom mobile also addressed council during the Public Input section, saying the tower will offer Sooke citizens more choice and better value. Installations are commonly located where people use them. Another tower was recently approved by Sooke, at 2123 Otter Point Road. Research shows that property values are not correlate with tower installation.
Council’s stance on the matter
St-Pierre said that if there were no health risks, people wouldn’t care. It’s not about property values, it’s about health risks. Benefits seem to weigh more with Freedom than they do for the people of Sooke. We have risks, but we don’t know what they are. It’s unknown. Europe opted for non-GMO to protect from unknown risks. Being careful makes sense. Alternatives can include lower wattage poles.
Beddows asked about size of the three microwave dishes. Proponent said they are two feet big, and they cannot be obstructed by branches. Beddows does see the legitimacy of sight-line concerns. He noted that the jury was still out on the health impacts of cell towers.
Parkinson reminded Council they can still say concurrence or non-concurrence, adding that ultimately the federal government will decide.
Bateman noted that the the Ministry of Health no longer consider health as a legitimate reason to deny a cell tower. When there is a recommendation of non-concurrence, the applicant is encouraged to “try again,” which was exactly what the applicant was doing.
Beddows made a motion of non-concurrence, saying that the tower will affect the property values and spoil the lifestyles of the neighbours. St-Pierre seconded the motion. It carried unanimously.
Correspondence received on the matter:
- Freedom Mobile – Executive Summary
- Comments and Responses – Freedom Mobile
- Correspondence from D. Herrling
- Correspondence from L. Oberley
- Correspondence from J. Kirk
Mayor Maja Tait Acting Mayor Jeff Bateman, Councillors Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson and Tony St-Pierre.
Please do not copy-and-paste the contents of this article. The content contained herein is paid for by SPN membership, and was prepared exclusively for those who contribute to the costs of operating SPN. Copying and pasting this article is copyright infringement.
Also discussed at this council meeting
- Sooke RCMP statistics for January, 2019
- One voice may have changed Council’s mind on a variance matter
- Sooke submits “non-concurrence” for second Freedom Mobility cell tower application
- Council approves memorial plaque for Cam Sullivan
- One single business (who the Gatewood Residential rezoning wasn’t about) has until the end of Feb to apply
- Council remuneration kicked down the timeline, again
- Sooke RCMP Report sees increases in sexual assaults and vandalism