Councillor calls for city to hang up on new cell towers
A Saskatoon councillor is calling for a moratorium on new cellphone towers until SaskTel and othertelecom companies improve on consulting the people who live near them.
Earlier this fall, SaskTel built a 60-metre tower in the city's north end but residents say they weren't informed about it until it was too late.
"I consider it to be a bit of a blight on the neighbourhood," said Ward 5 Coun. Gordon Wyant, who lives in the area.
Some people have circulated a petition asking that the unsightly tower, located next to the riverbank, be moved.
According to current rules, only people living 200 metres around a new tower need to be consulted. But Wyant wants to expand that to everyone living within sight of a proposed tower — and to stop any newstructures until that happens.
"All I want to make sure of is that as these towers go up in the future — and there's four more planned for Saskatoon — that there's some public consultation. Currently there's little in the way of public consultation," he said.
SaskTel said it empathizes with residents but that the new tower is necessary to keep up with Saskatoon's growth. Spokeswoman Darcee MacFarlane said the city's existing towers would have been at capacity by next year.
"So this tower is providing improved service and new service and is also taking off load from another tower," she told CBC News.
Wyant admits he isn't opposed to enhanced cellular coverage, but said he's asking companies to look at alternatives.
"I think what we need to look at is when the engineers at SaskTel are planning these towers, are there other options? Can you get away with building two or three smaller towers?"
City councilwill debate the moratorium at its next meeting Nov. 19.