Canada: Ottawa closes cellphone tower loophole

vrijdag, 07 februari 2014 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: .
5 febr. 2014

OTTAWA – The federal government is trying to mitigate an irritant for some municipalities and resident groups by expanding the rules governing construction of new cellphone towers.

Under a new Industry Canada policy announced Wednesday, wireless companies will now have to consult with communities before building new towers, no matter what their height.

“New rules will mean that citizens will be better informed and better able to engage in the decision-making about where new antennas are going to be constructed in their communities,” Industry Minister James Moore told a news conference.

READ MORE: Ottawa moves to close cellphone tower loophole

But while consultation will be necessary, companies won’t have to win the approval of local residents before building a tower.

Cell service providers will only have to satisfy the concerns of municipal governments.

Cellphone companies will also have to build their proposed towers within three years of the consultations.

If they aren’t built within that time, the community consultation process must begin again, said Moore.

“Today, when somebody gets a permit to build a tower, there can be a great delay, an entire community can develop, and then a tower is erected and people were not aware of it,” he said.

“Now there’s going to be a timeline on that, because in the past this no limit could mean that companies could wait a very long time and residents could be surprised at the creation of a new tower in their community without their consent.”

Existing rules require consultations only if the towers are higher than 15 metres.Companies are also required to piggyback on the towers of other cell providers first, if possible, before building new antennas.

In August last year, opponents of a plan to build a cellphone tower in a St. John’s neighbourhood felt powerless against a telecom giant.

They fought Bell Mobility’s plan to erect a tower in the middle of a residential area, very close to an elementary school. The company backed down, but not before the battle created animosity in the community.

The new rules are meant to ensure local residents are well informed and involved before decisions are made on tower locations.

A group representing the majority of the country’s cities and towns applauds the change.

“We all know that demand for wireless communications is rising, requiring more antenna systems to be built in or near Canadian communities,” Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Claude Dauphin said in a statement.

“But we have to make sure that when that happens, it is done in a way that respects the needs of our communities.”

The rule change does not impact the construction of radio towers on top of highrise buildings.

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PRESS RELEASE - Canadians for Safe Technology Praise Federal Action on Cell Towers

OTTAWA, Feb. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST) applaud federal Industry Minister, the Honourable James Moore, for his assertive action that limits cellular companies' ability to build communications towers in communities unchecked and now requires more open consultation and engagement with citizens before new cellular towers under 15m can be built.
The announcement means that this outdated legislative loophole will be closed. The regulated exemption of communications towers under 15m arose during World War ll as a means of allowing ham radio operators to assist in war efforts. This loophole has allowed particularly egregious commercial sitings of towers, including in residential back yards and other sites close to occupied residences and buildings, as well as in sensitive areas that are designed to be prohibited under municipal land use policies.
''Minister Moore is to be credited for taking a huge step towards greater awareness and understanding of the potential health risks that come from more wireless radiation in our communities,'' said Frank Clegg, chief executive officer, C4ST, ''With today's announcement; we know that developments that include wireless radiation will require greater transparency and accountability to Canadians. I am encouraged that our federal government understands that health impacts resulting from wireless radiation should be treated seriously. I look forward to working together with Minister Ambrose to further improve wireless radiation safety standards through Health Canada's Safety Code 6.''
C4ST have long urged lawmakers to consider potential human health impacts of wireless radiation, advocating for increased transparency, education and awareness. C4ST welcomes today's news, believing it is a critical step in the right direction.

About C4ST
C4ST is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based coalition of parents, citizens and experts whose mission is to educate and inform Canadians and their policy makers about the dangers of the exposures to unsafe levels of radiation from technology and to work with all levels of government to create healthier communities for children and families from coast to coast.

SOURCE Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST)
For further information:

Frank Clegg
Canadians 4 Safe Technology
1-866-408-2478 ext. 102

Email: .

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