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Give public say in towers: Ald.

With the influx of new wireless providers on the horizon comes thepotential for more infrastructure needed to carry the signal.

With the influx of new wireless providers on the horizon comes the potential for more infrastructure needed to carry the signal.

In fact, Ald. Bob Hawkesworth said he’s been told there could be as many as 300 applications for towers come forward in 2010.

Hawkesworth said these applications, between the provider and Industry Canada, don’t require public consultation if the proposed towers are under 15 metres — and many have consequently come in at 14.9 metres, he says — wiping out public input.

“You could have a tall tower that could be ugly and requires public consultation, or you could have a short, stubby tower that’s ugly, but doesn’t require public consultation,” he said.

The city rubber-stamps the Industry Canada application approval with a letter of concurrence, said Hawkesworth — but he wants to hinge that letter upon a wireless provider’s willingness to voluntarily solicit public input, regardless of tower height.

“I’m getting all the backlash on this, and it’s time to do something about it,” said Hawkesworth, who will bring the notice of motion to council on Monday.

Chris Robbins of WIND Mobile, who has 40 salespeople and four locations ready to launch in Calgary, said its preferred approach is tower sharing, but will comply if necessary for new towers. “We’ll follow whatever the rules are, as long as they apply to everybody,” said Robbins, saying there would be a cost attached to gathering public input.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association said any city regulation would have to be in sync with Industry Canada guidelines.

 
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