Cell Tower Policy

Below please find a letter I sent to Saanich Council regarding the siting of cell towers and an agreement made this February by the telecommunication companies.  As it states this only applies to individual municipalities who have incorporated the protocol. 

Just wondering if the CBRA feels this would be worth communicating with Saanich about.  These by-laws might already be in the works but I don’t see anything on their web page.  Thanks for your time.

Sherry Ridout

Dear Councillors & or Staff,

I am writing with regards to whether our municipality has any policies in place regarding the installation of cell towers.  I understand as of February of this year that:

Telecommunications carriers have agreed for the first time to notify municipalities of all antennas (sic) being installed before their construction, regardless of height, and to undertake full public consultation for towers under 15 metres  whenever deemed necessary by the municipalities.€

It is clear that this concession by the telecommunications carriers is meaningless unless our municipalities have put regulations or by-laws in place. I am hopeful that we do as my  church is exploring the siting of a cell tower on our property and I have concerns on a number of fronts which I won’t go into here.

Kurt Eby, the director of regulatory affairs for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), clarified the implementation of the FCM/CWTA Joint Antenna System Siting Protocol Template in these words:

The Joint Protocol Template is a voluntary initiative between the  wireless industry and municipalities. As such, the contents of the Joint  Protocol Template are not policies; they are commitments made by the  wireless industry to be undertaken at the request of individual  municipalities. It is up to each municipality to incorporate the contents of the Joint Protocol Template into their own protocol in whole or in part.

Once a municipality has adopted the clauses you specifically reference (or any other components of the Joint Protocol Template), wireless  service providers will comply with those procedures when siting antennas  in that municipality.

So back to my initial question: has the Municipality of Saanich incorporated the contents of the Joint Protocol Template into their own protocol in whole or in part? And if not, why?

A secondary question relates to assessment and taxation issues. If a transmitter is placed on a residential or otherwise private property wouldn’t that automatically bring into question the zoning to a ‘utility’ classification.  I know that in  Colwood, ‘utility’ properties are taxed at over 14 times the Residential rate. If any of this is applicable in Saanich then I think the church board needs to be apprised of these possibilities before finalizing their decision.

Thanks so much for clarification on these concerns.

Sherry Ridout

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