Rogers Communications would like to build a cellphone tower next to the firehall in Clearwater, according to Mayor John Harwood.
The mayor made the announcement during a town council meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The tower would be 35 m tall, which should give better coverage than the existing Telus tower, which is 30 m high.
Harwood noted that many visitors to this area use Rogers cellphones and are unable to communicate through the Telus system.
Council approved the project in principle, contingent on an appropriate agreement can be reached on the use of the land, which is District of Clearwater property.
Rogers and all wireless carriers are regulated by the federal government, noted chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx after the meeting.
Industry Canada requires Rogers to consult with the District of Clearwater and the public regarding the location of radio-communication facilities.
The consultation process is to be completed within 120 days, starting from the Dec. 17 announcement. There must be at least 30 days for public comment.
According to Industry Canada, Rogers must ensure that the local public, the District of Clearwater, and Industry Canada are notified of the proposed antenna system.
Letters are being sent to property owners within three times the tower height (35 m x 3 = 105 m or 344 feet), Groulx said.
A notice must be placed in a local newspaper circulating in the proposed area as well.
Rogers is required to address all reasonable and relevant concerns, make all reasonable efforts to resolve them in a mutually acceptable manner and must keep a record of all associated communications.
This include contacting a party by telephone, engaging in a community meeting, or having an informal, personal discussion.
The Need for Wireless Infrastructure
There is an increasing need for wireless infrastructure, Groulx pointed out.
People are becoming increasingly connected at home, at work, and on the road through their wireless devices.
More voice calls, text, and data messaging are being made and the use of smartphones and other devices such as iPhones and iPads is growing. This is putting wireless networks at or near capacity; as is the case with Telus in Clearwater, she said.
Cell towers will improve service and provide a foundation for next generation services such as LTE.
As well, more than 60 per cent of calls to emergency services including 911 are being made on mobile devices. Having Rogers as an alternative service in Clearwater would facilitate visitors that might have this provider.
The chief administrative officer said she understands that Rogers is continuing to invest in new infrastructure and current infrastructure upgrades to meet the wireless needs of their customers.
However, she could not say if this includes the installation of new cell towers in the North Thompson, other than in Clearwater.
Groulx noted that Health Canada sets the health standards for cell towers in Canada, namely Safety Code 6. Industry Canada has made compliance with Safety Code 6 a condition of licence for all Canadian wireless carriers;
Rogers states that it is fully compliant with Health Canada’s safety regulations.
Typically, Rogers towers operate at a fraction of the maximum outputs outlined in Health Canada’s safety regulations;
According to information from the chief administrative officer, the general consensus among Canadian government health organizations and the scientific community is that there is no evidence that the radio signals produced by wireless phone devices or wireless transmission towers have adverse effects on human health.