The Proposed TELUS 40 m (131 feet) Microwave transmission tower in Naramata, next to the KVR, has come out of the blue for most Naramata residents and particularly those whose property and businesses will be directly impacted by it, and they are numerous. We, the Bouton & Gauthier families, received notification on Friday June 20th. Peter Ehlers, also involved in gathering the information provided here, received notification a bit earlier. However, many others, although clearly affected by the proposal, never received any notification whatsoever.
The RDOS has never defined a process for such a proposal and as a result the proponents are applying the Default Public Consultation Process stipulated by Industry Canada. This default process has short timelines, probably to the advantage of the proponents, and public consultation was slated to end July 13. Efforts by our Area Director, Karla Kozakevich as well as Peter Ehlers, have resulted in two changes:
• There will now be a Public Information Meeting on July 10 between 5 and 7 pm at the OAP Hall;
• The consultation process has been extended to July 17.
As a result of this default process, and a rather lackadaisical effort to inform the public, very little time has been given for the community to take the proposal into consideration, and appreciate the scale of it and its impact on the KVR. Moreover, as those of us who have been gathering information about the impact of this proposal have found, information supplied by TELUS’ agents has been inaccurate, and in some ways somewhat misleading.
After research, which you will find on this site, it has become reasonably clear to us and a number of others in the community that the proposed location is nothing short of ill-conceived. Its impact on one of the most spectacular sections of the KVR trail will be extreme, and devalue it. As a concept, it could be compared to placing a 131 foot (40 metres) tower by the lake front on Lakeshore Drive in Penticton, or placing that type of structure on either Vancouver or West Vancouver’s Seawalls; after all, the KVR is of comparable value to Naramata.
Of all the possible places in this area such a structure could be built, how TELUS could have thought of this a “good idea” is hard to comprehend.
The Possible Economic Impact on the Community:
Speculation about the economic impact such a development would have has to be part of the discussion. Everyone knows that, whether well-founded or not, there is a certain amount of public anxiety attached to microwave cell towers. Government agencies may try to reassure the public, but as past experiences have shown, the public is conscious that what is deemed perfectly safe today may turn out, in hindsight, to be less than what was claimed as a certainty.
The anxiety towards these structures is known to have an economic impact, on the value of homes and their desirability, and the environment. This is why Industry Canada, in its list of things that are not considered relevant to their decision-making process, includes the following:
“Concerns that are not relevant include:
- disputes with members of the public relating to the proponent’s service, but unrelated to antenna installations;
- potential effects that a proposed antenna system will have on property values or municipal taxes;
- questions whether the Radiocommunication Act, this document, Safety Code 6, locally established by-laws, other legislation, procedures or processes are valid or should be reformed in some manner.”
While the federal government may have decided to ignore these factors to avoid opening up the proverbial can of worms, the citizens of a community affected cannot dismiss them as easily.
Any public anxiety over the presence of a microwave cell tower could cause some to shun the Naramata section of the KVR, in favour of others that are free of this type of structure. This is particularly worrisome in this case, as the antennas on the tower would be plainly visible from the KVR Trail, at the level of the trail, and relatively close to it.
Residents of the area are well-aware that this spectacular section of the KVR is an important draw for the community; along with the weather, the beaches, and the wineries and artisans of the village. A thoughtless degradation of the trail’s immediate environment, such as this, would very likely have an impact on the seasonal nature of the local economy, and its well-being.
This should be avoided, especially since other alternatives are clearly available, and the benefits to the community are negligible.
Safety Code 6, mentioned in the quote from Industry Canada’s guidelines regarding microwave cell towers above, was created by Health Canada and adopted by Industry Canada. Called “Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz” Safety Code 6 (2009) sets maximum exposure levels that have been deemed safe by Health Canada, based on the scientific literature to date. These safe exposure levels are generally used in a number of countries, but have been subject to scientific debate. Research is still on-going.
The Information available on this website:
At the top of this website you will find links to its various pages. The complete proposal is available in the Proposal section in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
The section called Tower Site describes the proposed site; offers information about what may well be the most likely primary function of the proposed tower; and provides accurate information about what would be visible from the KVR, as we carried out a professional survey to determine the impact such a structure would have.
The section entitled Photo Simulations provides information about how the proponents produced images that purport to show what the telecom tower would look like on the land. We have our versions, and think them more representative.
The Questions & Answers section provides a list of the questions that have been asked, up to now, of the proponents. The answers, or non-answers they received are included. As more questions get asked and answered, we will add them to this page.
Finally, the section called Alternatives contains solid suggestions for other locations that would more than likely suit TELUS’ needs, if not their financial preference.
Finally, the Updates section provides a place to see all the recent updates to the information provided on this website. Go there to find out about any new developments.
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Voice Your Opinion:
If you want to voice your opinion on this proposal, you must send an e-mail to the Agents for TELUS, or use the form provided on last page of their Proposal. This is part of the process as the agents must disclose all the comments and opinions they received to Industry Canada. Time is very short, so act now.
TELUS’ Agents: Standard Land Company Inc.
RDOS Area Director:
The Area Director would like to hear your thoughts or concerns as well: Karla Kozakevich
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