Tuesday, January 24, 2012

City asks for moratorium on cell towers

City asks for moratorium on cell towers

The City of Mississauga is asking Industry Canada to place a six-month moratorium on the approval of cell phone towers in the city so the federal body can review its requirements for public notification.

Ward 2 Councillor Pat Mullin introduced the motion yesterday at Council. It states the notification process needs to be amended to include the following: 

• that residents within 400 feet of the property of the proposed cell tower be notified through registered mail
• that the local MP be notified of any application for a tower and host a public meeting about it
• that results from that meeting be reported back to Industry Canada

The City is also asking Industry Canada to work with the industry to "develop less invasive technology" that can be used on existing structures.

The issue has been a contentious one for councillors and residents as telecommunications companies have brought towers to Mississauga that didn't require Council approval. A few have appeared in the city over the past few months, angering both residents and councillors. 

Homeowners in the Mineola, Oakridge and Clarkson communities have all fought battles against such towers in the past year.

Residents have expressed a variety of concerns with the towers, citing unknown possible health risks and that the structures could affect property values.

Mullin, who's been a vocal opponent of such cell towers, said the moratorium will give the City an opportunity to explore options for dealing with the towers. The municipality is currently looking at protocols in Brampton and Oakville.
The location of the towers falls under the purview of the federal government, through Industry Canada. The municipality has no decision-making authority when it comes to such matters.

"If you can send a man to the moon, you can come up with something that's structurally less invasive than these," said Mullin. "It's going to look like the oil fields in Texas unless we find a solution to this soon. As I said before, they service a very small area, so there's going to be a need for many of them."

Ward 8 Councillor Katie Mahoney, who recently had a cell tower erected in her ward, believes that with improving technology the pressing need for such towers may come to an end in the near future.

"The towers
 that are going up now, within a very short period, will be blights on the landscape and of very little use," she said.

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