Despite some concerns from councillors over two proposed wireless telecommunications towers in Mission, a vote is expected soon on whether Telus and Freedom Mobile will be allowed to install them in residential areas to improve cell coverage.
Two public information meetings were held in March by Telus, but councillors were told there wasn’t much feedback against the cell towers. A vote is expected after Freedom Mobile makes a presentation to council next month.
Coun. Danny Plecas is worried about the “proliferation of cell towers in urban areas,” and questioned the strategy of installing more of them in the future.
“It’s concerning. One or two here is not a big concern, but it seems to me more applications are coming through,” Plecas said. “At some point in time we need to sit down with the cell tower communications people and ask them what’s the long-term goal?”
Plecas noted that this proposal is the upgrading of an existing power pole and increasing its height by 20 feet, but is growing more worried at the use of public spaces such as schools to install the towers on. Coun. Pam Alexis echoed those comments, saying at some point they want to know what the strategy of companies like Telus and Freedom Mobile are, and if they plan on installing more in the future.
Kim Kokoszka has been an opponent of the Freedom Mobile tower being installed on Oyama Street, but Mayor Randy Hawes said that isn’t feasible because it wouldn’t provide the necessary cell coverage in the area near the Mission Sports Park.
“We’re keeping you on your toes,” Kokoszka told council. “I’m probably going to harass you until a decision is made.”
She had support from Tim Archibald, who has long been concerned about the health effects of radio-frequency radiation. He said local governments could even be held responsible for a “tsunami of health issues” in the coming years.
Tawny Verigin, with Cypress Communications on behalf of Telus, said the towers are needed as mobile data traffic is expected to rise 36 per cent every year.