Media Release - May 9, 2008
Richmond Hill, Ontario -
Upcoming Council Meeting Monday, May 12th 7:30 pm
On Monday May 12, 2008 commencing at 7:30 pm in Richmond Hill Council Chambers at 225 East Beaver Creek Rd., the Town of Richmond Hill will consider an application by Rogers Wireless to erect a cell tower (the second cell tower at the same intersection) at Bathurst St. and Elgin Mills Rd. W., 100 metres from a daycare and 120 metres from residential homes.
In addition, motions proposed by the residents' group, PACT (Precautionary Approach to Cell Towers) of Richmond Hill, regarding unprecedented consultation protocols will be considered. These consultation motions, if passed, will serve as a test case for local democracy, as affected residents fight for the right to document and tabulate their objections - or consent - to cell tower sitings in their neighbourhoods.
Under Industry Canada's existing guidelines, there is no mechanism in place to receive a formal, documented objection by local residents who object to applications for cell tower sitings. Further, since virtually all municipalities across Canada do not presently document and tabulate the responses of notified residents, the local public does not have sufficient legal or political standing under Industry Canada's existing notification and consultation process.
On Monday May 12th, the membership of PACT of Richmond Hill seeks to present the case for local choice before the Town of Richmond Hill. These motions, if passed, may serve as an historic template to be used by municipalities across Canada fighting to secure the voice of local residents opposed to cell tower sitings in their neighbourhoods.
The Council will also hear guest speaker, prominent Canadian scientist, Dr. Magda Havas, BSC, PHD, associate professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University, where she teaches and conducts her research. She has extensive expertise in electromagnetic radiation and will discuss the latest science on this matter from around the world. She has given similar lectures across North America.
A demonstration will take place for those denied a seat at the Council meeting (which allows seating for only approximately 250 people in two adjoining rooms).
The membership of PACT of Richmond Hill invites members of the media to record and document the proceedings of this historic vote on an issue that will have ramifications for all concerned residents throughout the country.
§ In Richmond Hill, Ontario, one resident was present at a poorly attended information meeting pertaining to a proposed Rogers cell phone tower at the intersection of Bathurst St. and Elgin Mills Road W., and took action to advise the uninformed community. With the help of other communities across Canada, the residents became aware of the most recent science reports and the inadequacy of the Federal Health standards.
§ The community was outraged by the lack of consultation and demanded another Rogers information meeting to which 300-350 residents attended in November 2007.
§ The community outrage grew further when, in the course of their investigation, the group discovered that another cell tower had already been approved by Council last spring at the same intersection, without their knowledge.
§ A grassroots organization-- PACT of Richmond Hill was formed, and many other groups across the country have since become connected over this same struggle.
§ PACT of Richmond attempted to get the Town of Richmond Hill to "unapprove" the Bell tower and, at the eleventh hour in December 2007, the Mayor wrote an "open letter" to express his personal opinion that another location should be found due to enormous community objection and that the location was too close to residents and a daycare.
§ A demonstration was held on April 17, 2008 to object to the lack of democratic process on this issue, to which 300-350 residents again showed up.
§ Despite advising Bell that the Town approval had occurred with inadequate consultation, the Bell tower was erected in March of 2008, and a Canadian flag placed on top, which further infuriated the community.
§ On Monday May 12, 2008, the Rogers tower application will be considered by Town Council. The residents requested a venue to seat at least 500 people. The Town of Richmond Hill has denied this.
§ The Mayor of Richmond Hill, David Barrow, has recently expressed the position that:
(a) it is not the Town's duty to protect residents regarding a health standard set by Health Canada ; and
(b) Town Council does not have a right to approve or disapprove of a cell tower site (even though Industry Canada guidelines allow this right)
§ PACT of Richmond Hill is of the opinion that the the above-stated positions are incorrect.
PACt (Precautionary Approach to Cell Towers) of Richmond Hill
On behalf of the residents of Richmond Hill
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