Thirty people showed up to Wednesday night’s presentation by Rogers Communications, which wants to erect a new cellphone tower in Barrhaven.
Julie Oliver / Postmedia
A proposed 37-metre cellphone tower is ugly and could contravene municipal bylaws, says Coun. Carol Anne Meehan, but “our hands are really tied” at city hall because telecom towers are federal business.Meehan, who lives close to the proposed Rogers tower on Prince of Wales Drive, called the tower “ugly” Wednesday evening at a meeting hosted by Rogers. About 30 people, most opposing the tower, attended.But she also said the number of opponents is far outweighed by the number of residents and businesses in the Stonebridge area who need better cellphone service. And she said Rogers has done “almost everything humanly possible” to make the tower fit in.Some neighbours feel the tower is too high, too visible, and too much like a giant billboard. They have argued it should be moved back from the “scenic route” along Prince of Wales.Many also don’t like the plan for Arbor Memorial to advertise its cemetery on the tower, with a sign that might include lighting at night in a generally dim area. (The proposed tower site is on land leased from the cemetery, and the cemetery owners have advertising rights as part of the lease.)Others are worried that cellphone signals might cause cancer.
Artist’s rendition of proposed cellphone tower at Arbor Memorial cemetery.
Julie Oliver /
“The health concerns are one issue. (There are) a lot of people with young families,” said resident Raj Venugopal. “It’s not just an aesthetic issue and it’s not just people that are opposed to increasing the kind of reach that the cellular network has. It really is just a general concern — why here?”He said Rogers has not looked hard enough for a different site.“I am not opposed to a cell tower on the cemetery property and I recognize that the cell service in my area is poor,” resident Greg Robinson wrote to Rogers.He asked that the tower “simply be setback from the road a reasonable distance from the property line (30 m) at this location (such as the other side of the pond, where it could be incorporated as a design element in the axis of the cemetery design) or further north and not have lighting attached to it.” In this way “it would not distract from the beauty of the design elements that form the Scenic Route nor would it impede future development of multi-modal transportation on Prince of Wales.”Rogers spokesman Eric Belchamber said the tower has been moved 400 metres from its originally planned site to reduce impact on neighbours, and there’s no other place where it will provide enough coverage.“We don’t take the investment of $1 million to build a facility like this lightly,” he said. “Right now there is extremely poor coverage in the area.”He said there would be no advertising on the top half of the tower, and no flashing red or white lights. There will be a clock and one line of electronic type for messages.He also pledged that the nearby trees will not be cut down.The public has until March 8 to make comments about the proposal to the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.email@example.com/TomSpears1ALSO IN THE NEWS:After 12 weeks and $10M, tornado-damaged Merivale transmission station is fully repairedTrucker charged with careless driving after Highway 401 crash, spillOrganized crime in India behind CRA phone scam: RCMP