Cancellation of Proposal: Hamilton Cell Phone Tower

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Jan 4, 2008, 1:05:58 PM1/4/08
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From: Jane Loncke <J_LO...@sympatico.ca>
Date: Jan 4, 2008 10:47 AM
Subject: Re: Cancellation of Proposal - Hamilton
 
Towering victory for residents
John Rennison, the Hamilton Spectator

An existing cellphone tower near Stone Church between Nebo Road and Upper Ottawa.

Telus seeks alternate location
January 04, 2008
Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 4, 2008)

Mountain residents are celebrating after fending off a giant -- a 30-metre cellphone tower.

Telus has backed off plans to erect a wireless tower on Crerar Drive at Covenant Canadian Reformed Teachers College because of community opposition.

But residents and the area councillor fear their victory will only start another neighbourhood battle as growing demand for wireless coverage drives cellphone companies deeper into residential areas.

"I foresee ... more high-profile battles," said Councillor Scott Duvall, who spent his holidays with residents upset about the proposed tower. "Pretty soon it's going to mean lots of uproar."

Some 8,000 cell towers already dot Canada, but it's the move into residential areas and feared health concerns that is sparking community opposition across the country. Cell companies are being forced to increase their infrastructure to match customer demand for better coverage.

There are nearly 20 million wireless subscribers in Canada, representing 70 per cent of households. Nearly half the phone calls placed today come from wireless devices.

Cell tower opponents worry the tower's radio frequency emissions pose a threat to human health, ranging from minor headaches to terminal cancer. They argue standards set by Health Canada aren't stringent enough in relation to European standards.

Health Canada stands by its standard, which was developed after years of research, and says there is "no convincing scientific evidence that any adverse health effects will occur" when the standard is met.

Still, Timothy Place resident John Savoia was shocked to receive a Dec. 14 letter notifying him of Telus's plan to erect a tower metres from his house. His alarmed neighbours met nightly, mounting a campaign to stop the tower's construction.

"My biggest concern was around health," he said. "It's not like a smokestack where you can see the emissions ... but they are real."

Telus contacted Duvall this week to notify him the company had decided against the location. He's meeting with the company in coming weeks to find a new location for the tower.

"They've been very co-operative in listening," said Duvall, who wants a report from the city's public health department on the risk.

The city has limited control over the location of cell towers, which are regulated federally.

James Kennedy, Telus's manager of real estate, said in a statement that the company is evaluating two other sites on the Mountain to provide better service to its customers.

"We look forward to working with the local municipality and landowners to obtain a site over the next few months."

nmaci...@thespec.com

905-526-3299

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