Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Antenna Consultation Policy

City moves against transmission towers

New consultation process covers all structures, whether existing or new

Triangle Mountain resident Sharon Noble, in a photo taken in April, was instrumental in bringing about Colwood's new policy on transmission towers.

Triangle Mountain resident Sharon Noble, in a photo taken in April, was instrumental in bringing about Colwood's new policy on transmission towers.
Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist File

Colwood is now fully armed in its continuing battle against transmission towers.

In an attempt to manage electromagnetic radiation from towers, the municipality has adopted an antenna consultation process that covers not only new tower applications but all transmitters "whether new or replacement" regardless of whether they're on an existing or a new structure.

After years of fruitless complaints about transmission towers on Triangle Mountain, Colwood's stated policy is it does not support the installation of antennas and/or transmission equipment in areas where people live. Further, the city intends to work toward having existing towers on Triangle Mountain removed.

Industry Canada is the sole authority over transmission towers, but it has a policy of consulting with local jurisdictions before making decisions about the towers, said Chris Pease, Colwood administrator.

"It's something we would require proponents to go through. It's really consultation with the community," Pease said.

"This grassroots push is to try to say that there's some evidence that there could be harmful effects from outputs onto human beings. And what do we need to do to try to mitigate ... electromagnetic radiation?"

Colwood believes the federal government hasn't paid enough attention to the mounting evidence of the effect transmission towers might have on human beings.

"But in fairness, if you look at research literature, there's information on both sides," Pease said.

The new policy pleases Triangle Mountain resident Sharon Noble, who was instrumental in bringing it about.

Its intent is to capture not only new tower applications but also upgrades, she said.

"I was very concerned that our current consultation policy didn't have that in there -- that they could put in new transmitters and would not be subject to consultation. And they could be put right in the middle of neighbourhoods and people wouldn't need to know.

"They could be put on churches or power poles or something like that. So the intent [of this] is to cover every contingency."

Colwood and the federal government have been at loggerheads over the towers for years. Residents in the Triangle Mountain area have long complained of interference with electrical equipment, including cars that won't start, garage doors that have a habit of opening themselves and VCRs that have a mind of their own.

More recently, some residents have complained about recurring health problems such as chronic fatigue, nausea and itchy skin that they say could be the result of overexposure to electromagnetic radiation.

If you would like to have a copy of the policy please let me know.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, antenna-free 2009!