The City of St. John’s is hoping to ease the controversy and concerns of residents when it comes to cellular towers by considering a new policy that will apply to all new wireless towers.
© — Telegram file photo
The draft version, which goes to city council Monday night, asks cellphone companies not to put up towers within 150 metres of residential areas, and any proposed wireless installation would require that the proponent submit an application to the city.
Nothing in the protocol would be strictly enforceable; Industry Canada can overrule the city even if it wants to reject a cellular tower application.
But Coun. Tom Hann, who chairs the planning and housing committee, said he hopes this will encourage cellphone companies to come talk to the city.
“We’re hoping that we’re going to have some kind of co-operation from them,” he said. “At least sit down with the city, because if you want to put a tower somewhere that doesn’t fit with this protocol, maybe the city can assist you in finding an alternate site.”
In recent weeks, residents in the city’s west end have been protesting a proposed cellular tower in a neighbourhood off Old Topsail Road.
The proposed tower is 14.9 metres high; the Industry Canada guidelines call for mandatory consultations for any tower more than 15 metres tall.
The draft guidelines will call for consultations on all towers if they’re close to residential neighbourhoods, no matter how tall they are.
If council adopts the guidelines in principle, Hann said, there will be a public meeting for people to give input.
“If council decides to adopt this and go down the road of a public hearing, we will be inviting representatives of Industry Canada and also inviting representatives of Bell to attend that public meeting,” he said. “Anybody who has any concerns or needs any information about cellphone towers can attend a public meeting and go through the protocol.”
On Monday evening, MP Ryan Cleary is holding a meeting of his own about the controversial tower.
The meeting will take place at
7 p.m. in the Canon Stirling Auditorium in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Craigmillar Avenue.