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All across the country, cellphone towers have become the neighbour nobody wants. But under current federal policy, there is almost no way to stop them from moving in.
Local governments have long been frustrated that they have almost no say in where a cellphone tower can go or not go, since approval falls under jurisdiction of Industry Canada. And in cases where a tower is less than 15 metres high or new antennas are added to an existing tower, according to federal regulations, municipalities and residents don’t have to be told at all.
Fed up, councils have started to push back. And residents who wake up one morning to find a tower beaming down at them, are launching grassroots campaigns spurred by a nagging feeling that living next to a tower emitting radiofrequency electromagnetic energy (known as RF) all day long — even at low levels — might not be good for them.
“Most people don’t think about it until it is literally in their backyard,” said Wendy Cockburn, an Oakville resident who tried to stop antennas from being put up on the roof of a fire station near her home. She has now become part of a grassroots organization called Citizens 4 Safe Technology. “But they quickly realize that it goes beyond their communities.”
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