Petition aims to derail proposed cellphone tower in Kelowna

A proposed cellphone tower in a Kelowna neighbourhood is meeting resistance after residents discovered that its location will be less than 400 metres from an elementary school.

As of Sunday morning, 143 people had signed the Stop the Ellison / Scotty Creek cellphone tower petition. Scotty Creek is a suburban, middle-class neighbourhood, located 14 kilometres from downtown Kelowna.

Notably, the neighbourhood lies just outside of city limits and is part of the Central Okanagan Regional District.

According to the petition, the proposed 18-metre tower will be built at the back, right corner of a long lot at 3811 Old Vernon Rd. that is zoned both private and agricultural. The tower would be, in some cases, just metres away from three homes along Weston and Bulman Roads.

The petition adds the tower would be, in a straight line, 357 metres away from Ellison Elementary School.

An Agricultural Advisory Commission (AAC) meeting was held in Kelowna on Sept. 13, 2018, and one of the items on the agenda was the proposed cellphone tower.

Notes from the meeting show that AAC planner Janelle Taylor provided an overview of the proposed tower, “noting that the proponent, Rogers Communications Inc., c/o Medallion Wireless, proposes to install a 35-metre tall telecommunication tower on privately owned land.”

The notes say that Kyle Shannon represented Medallion Land Services, and that “they have followed Industry Canada’s guidelines process which included notification to adjacent landowners and newspaper advertisement. To date, have received only two letters of concern, which were discussed with the owners and addressed concerns were identified.”

The notes add that the property owners were concerned about safety, that the lease is for 30 years and access to the tower will be via Bulman Road.

The AAC notes said Shannon noted “that all telecommunication areas are safe and held to strict Industry Canada regulations. Equipment passes safety requirements.

“The other neighbourhood concern noted was regarding real estate value and not being a real estate value assessor, Shannon noted that they recommended that the owner speak with a real estate agent to get an unbiased assessment.”

The AAC supported the application, with conditional support subject to the property owner bringing the entire property into compliance with zoning bylaw No. 871 and ALR regulations.

However, according to petition organizer Kristin Matthews, Medallion hasn’t done enough to notify the neighbourhood.

In fact, Matthews said “only 15 registered letters were sent out to homeowners which fall within a 105-metre radius of the proposed tower. This means that our neighbours, who live on the east side of Weston Road, were not notified and were unaware of the plans related to the tower.

“Staff at Ellison Elementary were also not consulted and were unaware, that all other parents at Ellison Elementary don’t have a say on the situation or the potential health risks their children will be exposed to.”

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