Concerned residents buzzing over proposed telecom tower, location

Some Penetanguishene residents are wary of a proposed telecom tower and urge people to pack a public forum Thursday night.

“We are trying to stop a large 100-foot 5G tower that’s being rammed down our throat,” said Sam Fortomaris, who says he represents “a group of citizens joined together” against the proposal.

The concerns arose following a MidlandToday article, ‘Public input on proposed telecom tower near St. Ann's closing soon’, which noted that a deadline for accepting public comments would end within days.

Within the August 9 committee of the whole agenda was a letter from Shared Tower, a Cornwall-based telecom tower installer. They had stated that a 30-metre tower was being proposed for the back of 17 Poyntz St., otherwise known as the location of the Knights of Columbus Hall and Knight Haven bowling lanes – a property on the street behind the St. Ann's Parish at 20 Robert St. W.

Despite an attempt to reason by Mayor Doug Rawson, who stated that the federally-regulated matter was a deal between a property owner and the federal government, and that council didn’t have enough information at the meeting, Fortomaris said he felt residents weren’t being given proper information.

“It’s going to be (emitting) radiation to the entire neighbourhood,” opined Fortomaris, who admitted he “was assuming” the proposed tower would be using 5G technology although that was not explicitly stated in any public correspondence by the municipality or parties involved.

According to Health Canada, telecommunication towers use lowered electromagnetic radio frequencies the closer they are to other towers, stating ‘your exposure level from such antennas is usually much lower than your exposure level from using a cell phone.’

As Penetanguishene town hall is located at 10 Robert St. W. and had only received notice of the proposed tower along with other nearby residents, members of council in the meeting shared concerns that the visibility of St. Ann’s Parish – the tallest church in Penetanguishene – as a landmark would be compromised if the 30-metre tower were to be located behind the building.

Fortomaris shared those concerns, adding that other residents who were going to attend the meeting also held the same reservation.

The public meeting is being held Thursday at 7 p.m. in the basement of St. Ann’s Parish.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,