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Council wants St. John's cell towers put far from homes

St. John's city council wants to keep cellphone towers out of residential neighbourhoods, and in industrial or commercial zones.

Federal government has jurisdiction over issue

The City of St. John's wants to keep new cellphone towers out of residential neighbourhoods. (CBC )

St. John's city council wants to keep cellphone towers out of residential neighbourhoods, even though the city has no actual authority to prohibit where such towers are located.

Proposed guidelines introduced at council this week say that towers will not be built with 200 metres of residential zones or schools.

As well, all new towers are to be located in industrial or commercial areas.

Many members of council were upset that Bell Mobility plans to put a new tower near St. Mary's Elementary School and a senior's home in the city's west end, and that the city has no veto over an issue that comes under federal jurisdiction.

Coun. Tom Hann said Industry Canada can still overrule the city's new rules, but he is hopeful that telecommunications companies will cooperate.

"Basically, what we've told Bell and what we've told Industry Canada is that we now have a solid position on where we would like to see those towers sited," Hann told CBC News.

"We've also said point blank, you have to make an application.  If you don't, we will issue a stop work order on you and then fight it out from there."

St. John's maintains that the location of Bell Mobility's tower near St. Mary's Elementary is unacceptable. Council is sending a letter to the company to outline its concerns.

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