Industry Canada overrules Charlottetown cell tower decision
Project complies with regulations, says federal department
Friday, March 6, 2009 | 4:21 PM AT
A unanimous decision by Charlottetown city council not to allow construction of a cell tower has been quashed by Industry Canada.
City council voted last year not to allow Rogers to build a 47-metre cellphone tower off Mt. Edward Road. The vote came after what one longtime councillor called an unprecedented outcry against it.
"There was an enormous amount of public input that we had into this decision and the residents out around there and beyond clearly did not want any kind of cellphone tower out there," said Coun. Kim Devine, chair of the city's planning committee.
Industry Canada reviewed the decision by council and found the city's concerns were unfounded.
"We have determined that the main thrust of the residents' concerns are related to the perceived health impact," a letter from the federal department to the city said.
"Our analysis has confirmed that the proposed installation will be in full compliance with Health Canada's Safety Code."
Health Canada guidelines 'not relevant'
The tower will be built a few hundred metres behind Catherine Mullally's house. She was one of the leaders of the neighbourhood group that successfully lobbied the city against the tower.
Mullally told CBC News Friday the Health Canada regulations are outdated.
"Health Canada's guidelines were drawn up long before cellphones began to be in common usage," said Mullally.
"Health Canada's guidelines deal with thermal effects, that is when radio waves are powerful enough to heat tissue. [Our concerns] are sub-thermal, they are below that level. Their guidelines are basically not relevant."
Mullally said several other countries have much stricter guidelines when it comes to how close cellphone towers can be to homes.
Charlottetown's legal department is looking into its options, and Mullally said the neighbourhood group opposed to the project will also get together soon to consider its next move.
PACT Precautionary Approach to Cell Towers
School fights plans for power substation
Blake Herzog, Tribune
Salt River Project has committed to buy a two-acre parcel from the bankrupt builder of a business park on Baseline Road east of Cooper Road. It has plans to build a 69,000 kilovolt power substation as early as 2012 to handle an expected increase in power demand in the area.
SRP spokeswoman Patricia Garcia Likens said its not uncommon for neighborhood substations to be built next to schools, or for schools to go up next to them.
But it was the experience of working near power lines that made school officials so adamant a substation shouldn't be built nearby.
Edu-Prize School superintendent Lynn Robershotte said she and four of the other founders of the school came from Frost Elementary School in Mesa. There they say they saw multiple sclerosis, neurological cancers and other health problems in students and staff which they attribute to electromagnetic fields from high-voltage power lines near the playground.
Robershotte said the group felt powerless to do anything about it.
"What are you going to do? They're there, they're huge, and they're running through the playground," she said.
When she and her fellow founders decided to build the Gilbert Edu-Prize campus 12 years ago, the first priority was to be as far away from power lines as possible, Robershotte said.
Likens said there have been no studies to indicate any kind of cancer clusters or other health concerns around Frost or any other Valley school located near a substation.
"I think it's important to emphasize that's their opinion," she said.
Today, Edu-Prize has 1,250 students in Gilbert and another campus in Queen Creek. Because parents are required to put in at least 80 volunteer hours per year, a robust network of them collected more than 1,000 petition signatures supporting the cause. They also walked a picket line along Baseline Road, sent a couple hundred e-mails into Town Hall and have formed the Facebook group, Protect our Edu-Prize Students.
But it's a different method parents are going to start utilizing, said assistant principal Barbara Duncan said.
Lobbying town officials for support won't have a direct effect on the outcome, since Gilbert doesn't have jurisdiction over SRP, a quasi-governmental agency whose larger facilities are overseen by the Arizona Corporation Commission. SRP's lower-voltage lines and substations are not regulated by the ACC.
Duncan said Edu-Prize's fight against the substation will move to advocating for more regulation of utility projects at the state level.
Duncan said she has left messages for state legislators without any response so far.
"I guess they don't sweat the small stuff," said Alison Jordan, mother of an Edu-Prize third grader. As the holder of a bioengineering degree, she has taken an active role in battling the substation.
Jordan allowed that much of the data collected in the United States on the health effects of electromagnetic fields has been inconclusive, but said the added risk of fire would increase in the area as the demand for electricity increases. She worries about fire breaking out on vacant land to the northwest of the substation, along Horne north of Baseline.
"Put it where the industry is rather than where the neighborhoods are and the children are," Jordan said.
Patty Holmquis the co-chairwoman of Edu-Prize's Parent Teacher Network, said she drives 30 miles each way to take her 10-year-old son Vincent, who has a compromised immune system, to the school. She said she chose it for its academic quality, small class size and a healthy environment.
"Now all of a sudden it's 'here we go again.' When you have someone with a compromised immune system who knows what could happen," she said.
Likens said SRP is currently looking at other options to locate the substation, but the process can take months, as it did to find the parcel SRP has now.
In the meantime, she said, "What's important for school officials to understand is not just the importance of where the substation should go but we don't see this as a danger to the school or the residents around there.
USA residents take notice -
Sent: Friday, March 13, 2009 10:52 AM
Subject: Urgent: Actual Broadband hearing
Below is the link to the actual Broadband Stimulus Grants Public hearing from the NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) website, an arm of the Commerce Dept
Included are location, time and dates of hearing along with lengthy criteria. Health, of course, is not mentioned, however there is a section on state and local authority. THere is also a section or statements on Smart Grid funding. Although lengthy it is worth perusing.
I am still trying to find out if you have to register to speak before the date of the hearing.
Please consider seriously attending. It would be better if everyone could agree together on a date to be there, preferably March 23rd or 24th.
If you cannot possibly attend the hearings, below is the website link for the Broadband Stimulus Grants comments.
Public input will be good until April 13th. If nothing is done to consider the 'Health and Environmental' impacts of wireless broadband in the broadband grant & deployment programs, you can be sure our efforts of the last 10 years will put us back for another 10 years, and much of petition work may have been in vain. Everyone of us has so much information, this is our opportunity to get it out there.
Safe Living Technologies Inc.
Tel: (519) 240-8735