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

City of Victoria considers proposed senior rental development

The Mount St. Angela’s complex aims to include affordable rental units

Middle school students busted for vaping in Oak Bay

Oak Bay Police respond to minors vaping, arson, and transients sleeping in a car

Peninsula Panthers look to claw their way back into the win column

Panthers remain the best team in the league, but the Victoria Cougars are set to pounce

Last call for raffle ticket to win $6,900 necklace with 163 diamonds

Oak Bay contest funds patient care for people and families dealing with cancer

More than 30 cars get tires slashed in Oaklands neighbourhood

VicPD are asking for help from witnesses to the incidents

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Most Read