North Yorkers want proposed cell tower stopped
Leslie St location to close to infant’s bedroom: residents
By Kris Scheuer
(Written March 31 for Town Crier. UPDATE HERE.)
William Marlatt views a proposed 40 metre cell phone tower as a health threat to his young family.
The planned Bell Canada tower would be located at 4800 Leslie St. in the parking lot of a medical building that backs onto Marlatt’s condo townhouse.
If the tower is approved by Industry Canada, it will be located less than 12 meters from the bedroom where Marlatt’s one-year-old son sleeps.
“There’s health risks associated with telecommunications towers. It shoots out electro magnetic wave lengths that’s showering down on the neighbourhood below for two kilometres,” Marlatt said. “It’s a nightmare.”
Not so, Bell spokesperson Julie Smithers told the Town Crier.
“Bell operates thousands of cell phone towers across Canada and they all meet or greatly exceed requirements by the federal government,” she said. “If there are concerns, residents can contact Industry Canada or Health Canada.”
According to Health Canada’s website, living near a cell tower is safe.
“Health concerns are sometimes expressed by people who live or work closely to base station antennas located on towers (or) poles,” states the website. “Yet the consensus of the scientific community is that (radio frequency) energy from cell phone towers is too low to cause adverse health effects in humans.”
That’s not reassuring to Marlatt, co-founder of the Anti-Bell Coalition, a residential group fighting the proposal. He said the group has collected almost 200 signatures on a petition against the location of the cell tower.
But health isn’t the only thing driving opposition to the cell tower. North York resident Wilfred McOstrich said in an interview he’s concerned the tower’s location will affect the value of his property across the street.
Through a freedom of information request McOstrich, another of the Anti-Bell Coalition’s cofounders, said he found Bell looked at the current site and an Esso station, but did not pursue other options.
“I found seven or eight alternative locations (Bell) didn’t look at,” said McOstrich, who has lived in the area since 1962. “Bell Canada didn’t come to the (March 22 community) meeting prepared with alternative locations.”
Bell’s Smithers said the company did look at least two other sites other than 4800 Leslie St. and will consider additional locations including those in a more commercial area or on the roof of residential highrises.
“We are looking at other sites including the ones proposed by residents. We want to fully consider those sites before moving forward,” said Smithers.
Councillor Shelley Carroll wrote to Industry Canada prior to the community meeting to ask for a review of the proposal, which is governed by federal legislation.
She said the proposal comes in just within the permissible federal guidelines such as being at least nine metres from a residential property.
New federal rules mean municipalities are now informed so they can send out notices to residents living 120 metres from the proposed site, hold a public meeting and city departments can review the application.
“We’ve covered it, myself and (city) staff, to the extent we can with the new protocol,” said Carroll. “What’s important is that concerned residents communicate with federal representatives.”