Arnprior – A sudden groundswell of opposition towards the installation of a new tower in a residential area made its way to the Arnprior council chambers recently and council was united in its opposition to oppose any installation until council is satisfied it has all the information regarding the effects of 5G technology on humans, animals and the environment.
The proposed site, which was chosen by Rogers for the tower is near the corner of McGonigal and Edward Street, a dense residential area that not only contains housing, but is very close to a seniors apartment building and two daycare centres.
If erected at the proposed site, the tower will be 40 metres (130 feet) high and it would be much greater in height compared with other structures in the immediate area.
Although the tower was not a scheduled agenda item, it certainly elicited a wide-ranging debate among council. Mayor Walter Stack addressed the issue near the end of last week’s meeting.
“I have been speaking with residents about this issue and as an elected official I have always believed in listening to all sides of an issue and I am always truthful when I come to a decision,” he said. “That is why I spent a great deal of time researching 5G technology by talking to people and searching the internet and I was astounded at the amount of information that is out there and I can tell you it is not very positive.”
Mayor Stack said it is impossible to stop progress when dealing with developers or expansion of services and he has always recognized this fact since he first ran for office more than 16 years ago. He has always maintained that a council must be united when dealing with significant changes to the status quo.
“This council has done a good job and we have managed the incredible and rapid growth in Arnprior,” he said. “But this tower and 5G technology is quite different than dealing with a subdivision or building an apartment.”
He said it is not fair to residents if council does not know all the facts about 5G technology, but also he raised concerns regarding the location and who owns the property where the proposed tower is to be located, noting it does nothing to enhance the neighbourhood.
“We have invested a lot of time and more than $11 million in our downtown revitalization and the tower would be adjacent to the Algonquin Trail as well as next to two seniors’ residences,” he said. “There is no way I could ever support this location and this council has a real concern.”
He said his research discovered serious health concerns reported by individuals within close proximity to a 5G tower, noting headaches, fatigue and irritability are just some of the negative effects reported.
The location of cellular towers is authorized by Industry Canada in consultation with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission and is not subject to Ontario’s Planning process. The town is represented by the Canadian Radiocommunications Information and Notification Service (CRINS) and as the town’s consultant, they will produce a report that will ask council, as the Land Use Authority, to vote in favour or reject the tower.
Mayor Stack and all of council agreed a 5G tower that comes with so many unknowns does not belong in the densely populated area. Councillor Lynn Grinstead went one step further when she said the tower should not even be allowed within town limits.
Council agreed that whatever recommendation comes back for council’s consideration, the council will likely send back a resounding ‘no.’
Stop The Tower Arnprior
When going through the streets around the downtown core, it is almost impossible not to see small white and red signs on several houses, and in some cases, the number of front lawns without the sign is far less than those that display one.
The signs were created by a 20-person committee led by David Joy, who moved to Arnprior because several factors of urban living such as pollution and noise was affecting his wife’s health. He said he has seen improvements in his wife’s health the last couple of years and exposure to waves from a 5G tower will provide zero health benefits for her or nearby animals, birds, bees and plants.
Beginning in early June, he and the committee set up a Facebook site and began door knocking to gain support from residents by signing a petition that will be presented to council when Mr. Joy and some committee members appear as a delegation. They will also present a petition which at this time has around 600 signatures and increases every day.
The door-to-door campaign appears to be working due to the high number of signs found not only on the front lawns of residences, but more signs are appearing in businesses located near the proposed tower site.
Even with the delegation appearance, the final report from CRINS will not be submitted to council until mid-July at the earliest.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader