Public feedback open on CREST/Rogers proposal

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Public consultation is now being accepting on an emergency communications and wireless communication tower proposed for Channel Ridge.

The joint project would see Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications Inc. (CREST) team up with Rogers Communications on a 40-metre tower supporting multiple antennae. The proposed location is part of the Channel Ridge development property owned by the Onni Group, and currently hosts a water tower and a TELUS communications tower. 

CREST is the nonprofit company that delivers radio communications to first responder agencies in the Capital Regional District, including Salt Spring Fire Rescue and BC Ambulance Service on Salt Spring. The organization has been working to fill coverage gaps throughout the Gulf Islands in recent years. 

CREST’s general manager Gordon Horth explained that recent work to install towers on other Gulf Islands has helped improve wireless communication coverage on the east side of northern Salt Spring, but there are still issues with the west side from Vesuvius and going north. 

“If you have an incident at the ferry, for example, coverage is challenging both for people using their cell phones and for first responders on 911,” Horth said, noting RCMP use a different system because of those gaps.

CREST operators prefer to co-locate services with other partners when possible to achieve cost savings and cut down on the number of towers and poles in the visual landscape. Horth said when they investigated the possibility of using the existing Telus tower, however, they found it was not adequate structurally to take on all the equipment that Rogers and CREST need. The two organizations also explored whether they could use any other existing structures, including towers and rooftops, but were similarly unsuccessful.

Horth said mature fir trees in the area reach around 25 metres in height. He doesn’t believe the tower will be too obtrusive in the portion that extends above that. 

Approval for telecommunications infrastructure is a federal matter done through Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC). In addition to the public consultation component, local governments are requested to provide statements of concurrence or nonconcurrence if ISEDC advances the application. 

CREST’s previous application to install a monopole at the Salt Spring Legion branch to meet another service gap in Ganges was opposed by many people in the community, and a petition against the plan attracted some 200 signatures. Islanders who spoke at an Islands Trust town hall sessions outlined profound concerns about the potential health and environmental risks posed by any level of electromagnetic radio energy, as well as security concerns related to CREST itself.

The Salt Spring Local Trust Committee asked CREST to explore other options at a May 2019 business meeting, and the file has gone no further since then.

Similar concerns have been raised about the new tower project, including by the local grassroots group 5G Free Salt Spring. The group believes fibre optic cable is the best and safest option.

“Fibre wired to the premises is safe, fast, energy efficient and secure, and is the gold star in connectivity. It is the best way to connect emergency service providers when they are not in the field. With the Connected Coast project bringing fibre to four ports on our island, now is the time to focus on building a network that is locally controlled. It is not the time to support Big Telecom,” group member Suzanne Smith said. 

Smith suggested CREST use the funds it had planned for its Ganges project to build its own tower on Channel Ridge and that any new infrastructure be limited to emergency transmissions only.

Health Canada has set the limits for exposure to electromagnetic energy under its “Safety Code 6” guideline. Rogers attests in the notification package the proposed radio antenna system at Channel Ridge will at all times comply with those limits. 

Members of the public are invited to provide comments about the proposal until close of business on Friday, April 16. For more information, contact Tawny Verigin at Cypress Land Services, 1-855-301-1520 or publicconsultation@cypresslandservices.com. Comments can also be sent to Islands Trust planner Geordie Gordon at 250-538-5601 or ggordon@islandstrust.bc.ca. 

14 Comments
  1. Yvonne says

    5G is extremely unhealthy and untested long term. It should not be put on our beautiful island! We will move off island if this happens.

    1. shelley mahoney says

      This is not about 5g…if we get 5g it will be installed on telephone poles not towers. This is about a cell tower that will house the much-needed CREST system.

    2. Emmanuel says

      Instead of installing more towers we could take a look of this new technology based on light called LIFI….. It’s faster and easier to install!
      It’s taking off in Europe because of its low cost….
      That will make people on Salt Spring on a course of a bright and safe future.

  2. Zoe says

    That’s quite the ultimatum… where would you move that doesn’t have cell towers?

  3. Sandy Max says

    We do not consent. Experimental technology has no place near homes, schools and within our environment. EMFs are cumulative. Please show how and when 2G has been proven safe.

  4. Jayeson says

    Hi Shelly,
    5G has not been tested for safety according to the American 5G reps; Look at the YouTube video of Senator Blumenthal questioning the USA 5G reps, while they repeatably, like a parrot, (the TELUS parrot?) stutter “no safety tests to my knowledge”.

    Try having your lawyer ( or do it yourself) send a letter interrogatory to one of the Canadian 5G companies, and you will receive the same dodging and ducking answers, probably with some mention of government approval and dither about “Safety Code 6” which by definition, has nothing to do with safety and is not a “code”. See Professor Martin Pall’s explanation of “Safety Code Six” for more information. (Search “Pall Safety Guideline Fraud”) .

    Rogers will undoubtedly be using Crest site as a 5g hub; the radiating boxes are just local broadcasters. I worry for the people living below the tower.

    Try asking the local Shaw pole-worker how they feel climbing next to the TELUS broadcasters in the telephone pole; ask how many minutes exposure until they go blind; I have asked them and the answer is disturbing.

    These are serious issues that are being glossed over by our government and the wireless companies. The health consequences of 4G and 5G are well documented.

    Ask your municipal, provincial and federal reps why there is no law requiring the wireless companies to publicize the location and strengths of radiating devices and give notice when those levels change, either through intentional or unintentional happenings. (The companies occasionally have spotters driving around looking for “leaking” radiating devices).

    Look at the incredible environmental and human costs of 5G: where do we think that all of the energy to power an entire planetary grid is going to come from? What is the actual cost of this consumerist utopia? What is the actual cost of the tons of precious metal extraction, or the maintenance of this vast system of 10,000 satellites?

    What is the actual carbon cost of a 5G planetary network to set up and over the next 20 years? What is the lifespan of each segment of technology and the carbon cost of replacing each component? Some estimates are showing that Cloud Computing alone has jumped from 3% to 17% of global emissions in the last 10 years (search for LEAN ICT Report for more data).

    What is the human cost of this system?
    TESLA is now in talks with the Indonesian government to further the genocide of the people in Papua New Guinea , where tens of thousands of people have already lost their homes and lives, with plans to build a destructive spaceport and launch thousands of satellites.

    Are all of these reasons not enough to say STOP to this insanity and have reasoned debate and investigation of the proposals and fallout of this technology? In medicine, human safety testing is (or was, prior to the COVID vaccines) required and human testing conducted before approval. Tell the people who are supposed to represent their constituents that it’s time for a big pause.

    1. Natan says

      Jayeson, thank you for your letter, the information you present, and especially the good questions posed that we should all be asking – and stopping all such projects until we have some satisfying answers!
      In a society where “safety first” appears to rule the day, why is it so blatantly ignored when it comes to things like this?

  5. Pierre says

    There is absolutely no scientific evidence that cell towers have any effect on health. Let’s stop that nonsense and enjoy the modern living.

    1. Jayeson says

      ….I wonder what non-scientific evidence the SHAW workers are using when they refuse to work next to an activated TELUS small cell….

    2. Peggi Humphreys says

      Your statement is misinformed. This article from The Lancet is one of many that detail the health and environmental harm of the increased EMR that 5G will bring:
      https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(18)30221-3/fulltext
      “Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact” authored by Priyanka Bandara and David O Carpenter
      Published:December, 2018

  6. Todd says

    No thank you!

  7. Barry Malone says

    I acknowledge that there are health effects of RF radiation, but this tower is NOT in a residential neighbourhood and it is supporting a good public safety need. The addition of Rogers/ Telus antennas will not be for the 5G millimetre-wave services (the greatest health concern). This tower installation should go ahead as planned.

  8. Peggi Humphreys says

    This is not a co-owned Rogers/CREST tower. According to Rogers’ engineering drawings, Rogers will own the tower and can put 22 antennas on it, 6 of them for 5G. CREST will be the tenant and will have just 3 antennas on it.
    Rogers is partnering with CREST because they know they have a better chance of getting approval to build this tower if it looks like it is a benevolent project aimed at improved emergency services. CREST is partnering with Rogers to save money.

  9. Natan says

    No to this project.
    Do we really want to be the guinea pigs for this untested technology?
    I don’t want it, and I certainly don’t want it for my children and their children.

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