C4ST Welcomes Town’s Backing
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It may be only a symbolic gesture on the part of the Town of Oakville, but Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST) says it could still be useful.
At Monday’s council meeting Ward 1 Councillor Ralph Robinson moved to advise the federal government the Town does not concur with radio communications facilities within 200 metres of sensitive land uses (e.g. residential), within 20 metres of a heritage structure, within 100 metres of Lake Ontario’s shoreline or on lands identified as natural heritage or a natural area.
The motion, approved unanimously, also asked Ottawa to put a moratorium on the building of cell towers in these areas until a review of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (which establishes safety limits for human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy) has been finalized.
The issue was at council after local lobby group C4ST mobilized area residents against a 14.9 metre Bell Mobility cell tower being proposed for the Drago’s Autobody site at 3135 Lakeshore Rd., and a series of commercial antenna/towers proposed by Rogers Communications for the roof of the residential community of Bronte Estates.
Opponents to those towers say they fear the possible health impacts of having cell towers and the electromagnetic radiation they emit so close to area homes.
At Monday’s meeting councillors stated repeatedly that when it comes to locating cell towers, the Town cannot block or approve a location as that responsibility lies solely with the federal government.
Even so, C4ST said it appreciates the Town’s decision to make its position on the matter clear.
“It’s very helpful,” said Frank Clegg, CEO of C4ST. “Hopefully the Town (calling for) this moratorium will put more pressure on Health Canada to fix this process.”
Clegg said he worries Ottawa will not listen.
Ward 4 Town and Regional Councillor Allan Elgar expressed the same fear and said if Industry Canada decides to continue approving cell towers, despite the moratorium request, there is nothing the Town can do to stop it.
“I just want to make sure everyone understands we can only request. We can’t require or say (Industry Canada) shall do… I’m very afraid people are going to get a false sense of hope that we actually have any control over what the federal government does related to cell towers in Canada,” he said.
Clegg acknowledged many Bronte residents have cell phones and want good service, but argued towers do not need to be built next to homes and schools and don’t need to be as powerful as they currently are to provide that service.
“We are not Canadians for No Technology. We are Canadians for Safe Technology,” said Clegg.
“You need to put cell towers up, but you need to put them up so they emit significantly less radiation. You don’t need all this radiation to provide cell coverage. They use way more than they need.”