Tighter cellphone tower rules cheered by Calgary community leaders
Ottawa forcing telecommunications companies to consult public on towers of any height
Some Calgarians are cheering new federal rules that will force telecommunication companies to consult with members of the community before erecting new cellphone towers.
Until now companies were not required to notify municipalities if a tower being built was less than 15 metres high.
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Under Industry Canada’s revamped rules, which were introduced on Wednesday, telecom firms will be required to consult with communities about building new cellphone towers, regardless of their size.
"Well, there are positives in it now that the fact that they have to notify the community for towers under 15 metres,” said John Wildenborg, president of the West Hillhurst Community Association.
Like many people across the country, Wildenborg said he has been frustrated with unsightly cell towers popping up without the community being made aware beforehand.
"When you found out about the tower it was almost too late to do anything about it,” he said.
The new rules also stipulate that wireless companies must do a better job of informing local residents of upcoming consultations.
And proposed towers will now have to be built within three years of approval,
Coun. Richard Pootmans said he hopes the new rules will help address some community frustration.
"It's not the resolution to all our concerns but it is most certainly a step in the right direction."
Telecom companies say they do consult communities, but add they're also trying to provide people with the cellphone coverage they want.
“We’re still reviewing the announcement but what I can say is that there is an enormous demand for wireless services across the country,” said Telus spokesman Chris Gerritsen.
“As far as towers of any height we regularly consult with municipalities, communities, and factor that input into our planning processes.”