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Bracebridge denied the Letter of Concurrence for the Rogers tower at Highway 118 East
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Bracebridge denied the Letter of Concurrence for the Rogers tower at Highway 118 East

Posted: 2024-06-11 08:05:10 By: thebay

Bracebridge General Committee denied the request for a Letter of Concurrence for the Rogers Telecommunication tower at 2819 Highway 118 East, in the June 4, 2024, meeting.

The request was met with many concerns from the Committee, including the proximity to the guy wires to Goodale Marina’s snowmobile racetrack, and neighbours, and public feedback.

Councillor, Barb McMurray, expressed concern about the risk of safety of the guy wires. She said, “They can potentially be very harmful to anybody that is using that snow track.”

Councillor, Debbie Vernon, expressed concern about how the proximity of the gamma rays from the tower can affect the young people that will be using the racetrack in the winter. She questioned, “How safe that kind of environment is for young developing brains?”

Director of Planning and Development, Cheryl Kelley, advised that the engineering work and spatial exercises were completed regarding the guy wires, proximity to neighbours, tree removal, and overall impact to meet the coverage mandate.

Mayor, Rick Maloney, expressed the importance of cell towers to the Town. He said, “Cell towers are an important piece of infrastructure for our communities. It’s connecting people to vital activity.”

He added “I’m challenged with saying we don’t provide concurrence and a piece of infrastructure that is significant in terms of connectivity to our community is in not in place.”

Council concurred that their input to the application at this point is now limited compared to previous cell tower applications due to changes.

Councillor, Don Smith, said, “Our ability to comment and input is less… It’s up to the federal government and we’re only being asked to comment.”

McMurray said, “It’s really concerning to me that we make nine people around this table make a decision for the federal government to put a tower close to next store neighbours who really don’t want it, and 181 signatures that I also have here saying they don’t need it, don’t require it, and don’t want it.”

Senior Planner, Olivia Matthews, advised that the applicant has put forth great effort in the process. She said, “They have provided a very comprehensive document here that staff has spent a lot of time going through.”

After much discussion about ways to approve a tower with a recommendation for it to be at another location, they were advised that they have the option of either issuing the letter or not, with no room for amendments, addressing issues, or making suggestions.

Kelley indicated that the proponent wouldn’t see recommendations about further consideration to tower location with the letter as an approval if Committee went that route. She said, “Significant conditions on a Letter of Concurrence is not a Letter of Concurrence in their minds.”

Kelley advised that they could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the request for the Letter of Concurrence, which will have an impact with the federal government’s decision. She suggested, “If you don’t give a letter of concurrence there will be no tower.”

After also being advised that public concerns will not be considered at this point federally, Committee agreed that they are the only voice of the community at this point.

Smith said, “At the end of the day we also represent the people of the community, and we do represent them on a number of different bases.” He explained that they are considering those that want more cell service and others who have concerns about the locations of that service.

Chair, Archie Buie, concurred with the importance of resident’s input. He said, “They echo their input through us Councillors to this table and that’s what this process is all about, is not only listening to the applicant’s concerns and his desire, but also to listen to the residents and how that’s going to affect them.”