Wildfield residents oppose Bell cell tower

By ALAN LICZYK

Some Wildfield residents are fighting the proposed installation of a Bell Mobility tower at the local St. Patrick's Church.

One of the residents, Dan O'Reilly, addressed Caledon council last Tuesday and asked if council would request the Association of Municipalities of Ontario develop a policy position paper on cellular relay transmission towers.

With the proliferation of cell towers, O'Reilly explained there's an urgent need for an expanded and more uniform policy or strategy to deal with three other areas of concern: loss of municipal control, esthetics and possible health and safety risks.

He noted the Bell Mobility tower could be 100 feet or higher and will stick out like a sore thumb.

He added they've made some progress in their campaign. In December the City of Brampton approved a recommendation from its heritage board to proceed with designation of the church under the Ontario Heritage Act.

He observed cell towers seem to be everywhere including one at Dixie and Mayfield roads, another at Airport and Mayfield roads, a third one near the Regional Road 50 and Mayfield Road intersection, and "the incredibly ugly structure that now looms over the Albion Bolton Community Centre."

O'Reilly pointed out there's a lot of scientific research that argues cell towers are a health and safety risk because of electromagnetic radiation.

"Long-term exposure to such radiation has been linked to leukemia, DNA damage, short- and longterm memory loss, buzzing in the ears and acceleration of cancer cells," he said.

The Vancouver school board, various American cities and countries such as New Zealand and Greece have limited or banned the placement of cell towers on or near schools, he explained.

"As well, the International Association of Firefighters, a labour union that represents professional firefighters in Canada and the United States oppose the use of fire stations as cell tower locations," he said. "These are the people who risk their lives running into burning buildings, and yet they're concerned about the potential of cell tower radiation."

O'Reilly was shocked when various Brampton officials told him all that would be needed for the project to proceed in Wildfield would be a site plan approval and a building permit.

Even if the city opposed the project, its decision could be overruled by Industry Canada, the federal government department that regulates cell towers, he said.

"It seems absolutely incredible the telecommunications industry and Industry Canada can and does bully municipal councils and override the rights of local citizens," O'Reilly said. "Caledon and every other municipality should have the right, on behalf of its citizens, to direct the placement of these towers."

Council will send its concern with the lack of municipal input into the location of cell towers in Caledon to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Dufferin- Caledon MP David Tilson.

Council also requested its planning and development staff prepare a report, with input from the Caledon environmental advisory committee, concerning the impact of radio waves.

//www.caledoncitizen.com/news/2007/0131/news/008.html


Informant: Martin Weatherall

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