Communications hearing towers over Official Plan presentation

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It was a full house at the Clearview Council chambers on Wednesday. Before the Township’s new Draft Official Plan was presented, council had to deal with an application for a new tower to be erected by Rogers Communications at 2322 Fairgrounds Road, in the Ten Hill area. What initially seemed like a routine matter stretched into a two hour discussion.

Community Planner Nick Ainley walked council through a series of maps and renderings, then a representative of FB Connect spoke on behalf of Rogers explaining that as demand for service increases, there are gaps in coverage with existing towers in the area.

Neighbouring property owner Tom Arndt challenged the application saying Rogers has not fully explored the possibility of co-locating equipment on existing towers, nor have they adequately answered questions about the environmental impact of the proposed tower. Arndt pointed out that the Official Plan stipulates that the preferred location for towers is on land designated rural versus agricultural as is the case here. Noting that Bell and Telus are able to provide 5G service with existing towers, Arndt suggested the new tower would not actually be for the benefit of residents but for travellers through our area. He noted that the council chamber was filled with neighbours who were there to object to the application. Among them was pilot Alex Younger who suggested that the tower location would be a hazard to aircraft including medivac flights.

Ainley told the meeting that the decision will ultimately rest with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and that the township’s role is to facilitate public input. Members of the public are asked to submit their comments before September 10, then staff will prepare a report for council.

Photo Rendering: Proposed 60m SST as it would appear from Fairgrounds Road S. looking west. (Please note that although considered to be accurate, this is an artist’s rendering only.)

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