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Since telecommunications is under federal jurisdiction, no regulatory approval is required from the City of Dawson Creek, but council was invited to submit questions and concerns regarding the facility.
Council submitted four questions related to alternate locations, public safety, impacts to sight lines and the potential for Rogers to open a retail store in the city. On Monday, they received a response from the land agent on behalf of the telecommunications company. In regards to alternate locations, the agent responded that four other potential sites were investigated, but in all cases, an agreement with the respective property owners was not forthcoming.
“The proposed location at 1100 Alaska Avenue was chosen first that it meets all of Rogers’s technical requirements in order to significantly improve the performance of the wireless network and secondary, there was a willing property owner,” stated the response from land agent Kiersten Enemark.
As for public safety, the response stated the site would not be accessible to the public, and would be secured by a 1.8-metre-high fence with a locked gate, as well as a silent alarm system. The response also stated that Rogers telecommunication towers are professionally engineered, meet all applicable building code requirements and are structurally safe.
The response goes on to state that Rogers is governed by Health Canada safety standards in regards to operating within the safe limits of radiofrequency exposure.
“In Canada, Industry Canada has adopted Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, which establishes the safe limit for all devices that emit radio frequency waves and ensures public safety. The consensus among Canadian health organizations and the scientific community is that wireless antennas are safe,” the response stated.
In terms of minimizing the visual impact of the proposed tower, the proponent stated the tower location is along the northern property boundary away from Alaska Avenue, and will be placed behind a commercial building where the radio equipment and tower base will not be easily visible to the travelling public along the road. Visibility from residential properties to the east and southwest will be minimal as the proposed tower is more than 300 metres away from the closest residential zone, it is stated.
Rogers is proposing a lattice self-support tower that the company states will make the structure less visible in its environment, and allow for a second wireless carrier, and possibly a third, to co-locate or share the structure for future telecommunications equipment without building more towers. The company states the City of Dawson Creek could request construction of a monopole tower instead, which is cylindrical in shape and would reduce the footprint of the structure slightly, though it would not be able to accommodate multiple carriers in the future.
Finally, the company stated it does not have plans at this time to open a retail business or dealership in Dawson Creek.
“The intention of the proposed tower is to improve wireless service and build a stronger customer base so that a Rogers service centre would be required. Until Rogers is able to provide competitive coverage in the area, a Rogers retail business is not viable,” the response stated.
The response stated that Rogers would like to move forward with the formal, 120-day public consultation process next month as per the notification requirements outlined by Industry Canada. It is expected that affected residents in the area will be notified and requested to submit to any questions or concerns for the company to address in a timely and reasonable fashion. Details of the consultation process were summarized by City staff and have been attached below.
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