More consultation for cell towers
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013 5:35PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 16, 2013 9:32AM CST
A cellphone tower can be an eyesore – that’s why a new policy has been approved to include more public consultation about where new towers are set to go up.
The new policy will allow public consultation for cellular towers that are less than 15 meters tall.
The policy change comes after residents complained to city council after a tower went up in Caswell Hill.
“We didn’t realize what was going in there until it was already up,” said Bob Challis, Caswell Hill resident. “It’s pretty bad. We have a nice little neighborhood and it’s kind of an eyesore,” he added.
The neighborhood complained about the lack of consultation with the community regarding the tower.
The city’s previous policy was that no consultation was necessary for towers less than 15 meters, but now there will be a clear process for residents to voice their concerns.
The City of Saskatoon doesn’t have the authority to approve or reject cell phone tower construction – the federal minister of industry does – but the city does oversee public consultations and delivers a report to the minister.
Now those consultations will include shorter cell towers.
“If there is a tremendous amount of opposition we accompany that information with a letter from the city saying we do not concur with that location,” said Alan Wallace, the manager for the city’s planning and development branch.
According to Sasktel, between 5 and ten per cent of homes in Saskatoon don’t use landlines anymore and simply rely on wireless devices.
Wireless data usage is growing at a rate of 5 per cent a week, meaning new towers are necessary to providing service.