A Nova Scotia garlic farmer has put the brakes on high-speed internet coming to Victoria Harbour, a rural community on the Bay of Fundy, fearing radiation from microwave towers will affect his crops.
Lenny Levine, who has been planting and harvesting garlic by hand on his Annapolis Valley land since the 1970s, is afraid his organic crop could be irradiated if EastLink builds a microwave tower for wireless high-speed internet access a few hundred metres from his farm.
"I think over a period of time it will change the DNA of the garlic because it shakes up the molecules," he said Tuesday.
EastLink uses microwave transmission to provide high-speed internet access to rural areas outside its wired network.
Levine said he moved to the country to get away from pollution, and he sees the radiation from the towers as another form of pollution.
"I view it with dread, fear and panic," he said. "I don't want to grow food under those conditions."
Levine has convinced Kings County Council that his unique business is at risk if the tower goes ahead as planned. Council voted in favour of erecting five other towers, but rejected the one that would have been built near Levine's farm.
But it may be a temporary reprieve because Industry Canada has the final say. EastLink has appealed council's decision to the federal department, and a decision is expected soon.
Kings County Warden Fred Whalen said he expects council's decision will be overturned because the radiation from the internet tower is 60,000 times lower than the government's accepted limits for organic farms.
"I believe that might have been a sentimental vote to support him [Levine]," Whalen said.
If council's decision is overruled, Whalen said the municipality has no plans to launch a legal challenge.
A petition in support of the high speed internet tower was signed by the majority of householders in the area. Meanwhile, the people of Victoria Harbour are stuck with dial-up internet.