Anglican Homes Inc. says Bell Mobility addressed health, safety questions
A local not-for-profit group has confirmed it signed off in July on a five-year lease agreement with Bell Mobility for a piece of property where the telecommunications company proposes to build a cell tower.
In a news release issued late Friday afternoon, Anglican Homes Inc. (AHI) said Bell Mobility approached the organization in January 2013 about land located near Bishop Meaden Manor on McLoughlan Street in St. John’s.
“Bell Mobility informed AHI of some of the benefits the proposed project would have on the local area and addressed numerous questions posed by the AHI Board of Directors, including the continued health and safety of our tenants and neighbours,” the organization wrote in a statement attributed to its board.
Bell Mobility gave notice earlier this summer of its intentions to build a 14.9-metre cell tower off McLoughlan Street. It held a public information session about the proposed tower on Aug. 21 in St. John’s.
In a statement to The Telegram earlier this month, the telecommunications company said demand for cellular services is growing at a rapid pace and that the McLoughlan Street tower, along with one proposed for the Oceanex Terminal, would enhance services for its customers.
Some city residents have expressed concerns about having a cell tower in the neighbourhood, making mention of safety concerns and its potential proximity to
St. Mary’s Elementary on Waterford Bridge Road — approximately 90 metres.
A protest was held in the area last Friday involving some students and parents from the school.
Health Canada appears to have minimal concerns about cell towers with respect to radiofrequency fields. On a Health Canada website concerning the safety of cellphones and cell towers, the federal government department said, “There is no scientific reason to consider cell phone towers dangerous to the public.”
This remains the case, it said, “as long as exposures respect the limits set in Health Canada's guidelines.”
Bell Mobility has said all government standards would be followed for safe construction and operation of its proposed towers.
The City of St. John’s is still creating its own protocol for where cell towers can be situated. In a news release issued Thursday, Mayor Dennis O’Keefe said Bell Mobility should to hold off on any plans to build towers in St. John’s until the protocol is in place.
In its release, AHI said the lease agreement, effective July 1, 2013, is subject to relevant government authorities granting approval to the tower and a consultation process taking place that involves neighbourhood residents.