A proposed cell phone tower at 6738 Bradner Road has raised concerns for residents of the west Abbotsford community.
Miriam Helter, who lives on Bradner Road, told city council on Monday that much of their community is opposed to the building of a tower.
The 50 metre proposed tower would be built by Rogers Communications within a 20 metre by 20 metre fenced compound.
Compounds for towers smaller than 10 metre by 10 metre are a permitted use in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), but because the proposal calls for more space, it will require approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).
A report from city staff states that following a public information meeting on the proposal, they received 112 comment sheets. The report states that 59 per cent were in support of the installation and 41 per cent were opposed.
But Helter said much more of the community is opposed than recorded by the city. She said she canvassed her neighbours and found that at 113 properties within a 1 kilometre radius of the site, she received signatures of opposition from 89 – indicating that 79 per cent were opposed.
She said residents are concerned about the potential health effects of cell towers, adding that there are already cell towers in Bradner on Marsh McCormick Road.
Peter Leathley, municipal affairs specialist at Rogers Communications, told council that cell towers are regulated by Health Canada and there is no conclusive evidence of negative health effects.
He said the tower will address community concerns about poor cell phone coverage in the Bradner area. He added that the height of the tower is intended to allow another cell phone provider to add on to the structure, mitigating the need to build more towers in the future.
But Helter said residents of Bradner have been opposing towers in their area for years, and are getting tired of having the same fight.
“We’ve sent a strong message of the years and every time this comes up we have to send it again.”
Council had the option of forwarding the application to the ALC with a comment either supporting or opposing the project, or providing no comment. They opted to forward the application with no comment and the proposal will now be considered by the ALC.