Cellphone towers draw Lower Mainland opposition
Proposed new cellphone towers are drawing opposition from residents of Port Coquitlam and Surrey concerned about possible negative effects on health and property values.
Cascadia Tower Inc. is making an application before Surrey city council to build two towers in Cloverdale.
Area resident Claire Smith says if the towers go in, her home will be worth less and the community's health will suffer.
"Seizures to headaches, to nose bleeds, to blood pressure issues and, of course, anything associated with radiation, there is also a cancer concern," said Smith.
She plans to speak before city council at the end of May in opposition to the tower project.
Fear of unknown
Coquitlam resident and mother Andrea Gretchev admits it's a fear of the unknown that has her concerned about a Rogers Communications Inc. tower that would be close to her home and the elementary school her son will attend.
"I can't say that this causes anything in particular, because I don't know," Gretchev said. "But because I don't know, I don't want to live next to a cell tower."
The tower would be built in a wooded section of a city-owned park and would provide better service in a part of Port Coquitlam where the company says people often lose their cell signal.
But about 500 people have signed a petition against the tower and the Coquitlam School Board has voted to oppose the project.
Health Canada has said there is no reason to believe low-level radio frequencies are dangerous and Perry Kendall, B.C.'s provincial health officer notes that thousands of studies have failed to find a negative health link.
"The science, which really is pretty extensive doesn't give me any concern," said Kendall. "I don't think there is any convincing evidence of adverse health effects from radio frequency from cell phone towers.
"If parents are really worried and wanted to take a precautionary approach, I would be more concerned — if I were them — about cell phone usage rather than Wi-Fi and cellphone towers."
Poco vote later in May
But Gretchev said she doesn't want her son to be a guinea pig.
"Let's take the precautionary approach and not put this next to schools and residences," she said.
Port Coquitlam called a special meeting for Monday night to hear concerns.
"I hope that we hear from residents that live near the cell phone tower," said Mayor Greg Moore. "Maybe it's a visual thing, maybe it's a lack of service."
City council is expected to vote on the tower within a few weeks.
With files from the CBC's Meera Bains and Lisa Johnson