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Change the process regarding cell tower siting and improve the Public notification/consultation process in Canada: in regards to Rogers Telecommunications Cell tower construction 700 Payne Rd., Gibsons, BC

This petition had 140 supporters

As Canadian citizens, we are respectfully petitioning to suggest changes in the process around cell tower applications in Canada; including changes to the standard rules of Public notification and to increase transparency for municipalities and improve communications throughout the tower siting process. We hope you can sign our petition and bring about positive change in this area.

There was a proposal for a tower to be placed at 700 Payne Rd. Gibsons, BC by Rogers Telecommunications Inc. This tower site was to be at the perimeter of our ‘living green’ Parkland residential development. We did not hear anything about it until three days before the ‘final approval’ was to happen, having missed the notification in the newspaper classified section.

Wireless services have grown into something Canadian consumers rely on daily.  We are not opposed to the cell towers per se, but we oppose a cell tower if it is near residential areas. The cell tower should not be where people live, work, and/or play. Within the proposed area we not only have residential, there is a medical clinic, veterinary clinic, chiropractic practice, blood lab, water source, horse stables, tennis courts, walking trails, shopping mall, restaurants, coffee shop, grocery store as well as many pets and wildlife. On the Sunshine Coast, we have options for sites that are better suited.

We are appealing for change in the process around tower applications in Canada to be open and inclusive for all community areas. We are asking for a better standard of notification.  We understand Industry Canada’s guidelines of notifying businesses and residents within three times the height of the proposed tower, however we would like that ALL within a 400m radius be included in the notification area.

In our particular case, a small advertisement placed in the Classified section under “pets” section of a “pick-up” paper is completely inadequate in notifying the general public. As well, the Public Consultation Package sent to those businesses within the notification area contained “misleading” and “incorrect” information, stating that the area north of the proposed site was “rural”, but is in actuality residential areas.  Rogers, as far as we can tell, despite being told of this error by municipal representatives from surrounding areas did not reissue a corrected package allowing the public to be misinformed.

Our particular neighbourhood - Parkland, fell within three times the height of the tower area, but the land within the notification area remains undeveloped as the next phase to be built, so Rogers only informed the Developer and not the current residents living adjacent (half a metre) outside of the notification area. Many surrounding businesses and residences (including another densely-populated residential area, businesses, Medical Clinic and mall) did not know of the tower proposal. 

After months of the inadequate Public Consultation process, the Town of Gibsons and Rogers claim that there was little opposition voiced, but this was because people did not know of the proposal. The Town of Gibsons has since concurred with the project and claims to have no veto power in stopping it.

This is the third site that Rogers has investigated in Gibsons and in the two previous neighbourhoods strong opposition was voiced to the tower being placed near residential areas and the third time residents within Gibsons have had to rally, petition, spend copious hours of volunteer time to fight this sort of proposed site.

At a meeting with residents after the Town concurred, Town of Gibsons Director of Planning - Andre Boel told residents that the tower placement is a “done deal.” We as a community feel disrespected and bullied by Rogers because we had no voice...we had not had the opportunity to express our concerns. 

We respectfully ask that changes be made to the process and notification of the public regarding cell tower placement, so that other neighbourhoods do not have to go through the same experience as we went through. Please now adopt a strategy to change the following:

1) The Public Consultation Process should include all residents and business owners within a 400m radius and be held well in advance to any installation of cell towers so they can be informed and have a say regarding concerns for their neighbourhood.

2) The Public notification process and communication should be clear, factual and direct. Stricter guidelines regarding delivery and provision of information to ensure proper communication should be implemented. These guidelines should not allow for interpretation as to what is adequate proper communication, ie. advertisements need to be in general areas and not in classified sections of newspapers and advertisements should be placed in a form that is delivered door-to-door. 

We respectfully request next steps to change the process around cell tower applications in Canada for the positive good of all citizens in all communities across Canada.

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