RDEK reverses course on Moyie communications tower

Board looking at two potential locations for tower following outcry from supporters.

The regional district is reversing a decision that denied the approval of a proposed communications tower in Moyie following a public backlash, according to board chair Rob Gay.

Gay, who also serves as the director for Area C, which includes the Moyie area, says he was flooded with emails after the RDEK voted not to proceed with the replacement of an existing older tower after hearing pushback from community members at a public hearing.

Initially, there was a public outcry from the Moyie community over the replacement of the tower, which is located near a children’s park, because of health concerns over microwave transmissions.

“So what we did today is we said lets go back to a second public hearing and see if we’ll get a view from the border community that we obviously didn’t get the first time,” said Gay, who noted he received over 70 letters and emails after the initial RDEK decision was made to halt the process to construct a new tower.

Acknowledging the public’s concern about the existing tower being located in a children’s park, Gay said he’s been in talks with Columbia Basin Broadband Corporation and a private landowner nearby about having the tower on their property.

The tower, which will feature upgraded equipment, will be used for internet access and improved communcation with emergency services.

Because of line-of-sight issues with another tower and the surrounding mountainous terrain, the Moyie tower needs to be relatively close to the existing location for maximum coverage of the community, said Gay.

“The citizens, even the folks who said we don’t want the tower put in the current location on the Moyie Community Association land, would rather see this tower somewhere else,” said Gay, “but somewhere else has to be very close, because the way the mountains are, you can’t go down the road six kilometres and get the same coverage, so the very close is on some private land and Columbia Basin Broadband and myself have been working with the private land owner to see if we can get an easement.”

Having the tower located on the identified private land, which is already has the proper zoning, would be the ideal first choice given the desire to move the tower away from the children’s park, said Gay

However, should talks break down with that private land owner, the RDEk should have a backup plan to replace the tower in it’s existing location, which then requires a public hearing, he added.

“If we can move it near the community, not in the playground, it seems like everybody would be happy,” said Gay. “But if that doesn’t work out, the fall back, what we’re calling our option two, is to go back to the current old tower is and put a new tower in that location and that’s what this next public hearing would be, to see if we can rezone it, because where the current tower is, it’s not zoned for the type of tower.

“On this private property we’re looking at, it has the zoning already for a communications tower, so it’s about the zoning, that’s what this whole issue’s around.”

Complicating the issue is a looming deadline at the end of March for funding from the federal government that would cover half of the $300,000 price tag for the new tower.

Because of that March deadline, the RDEK is taking a somewhat unusual route by having a public hearing on Plan B (the existing tower location) if Plan A (the tower on private land) doesn’t work out.

“The problem is the money that we’re getting for this $300,000 tower; half of it is coming from the federal government and their program ends at the end of March,” said Gay, “and our processes take about two months by the time it comes to the board, public hearing, back to the board, so we want to have Plan B in our back pocket should Plan A not work, we’re ready to go, so that’s why we’re not doing it in maybe a more logical step.”

Just Posted

WildWear shifts couture culture on the recyclable runway

Images of the eighth annual MBSS Trash Fashion Show

Air cadets welcome new commanding officer

Trevor Crawley There is a new commander officer in charge of the… Continue reading

Photo exhibit showcases Mountains of Personality

Project from local photographer puts the spotlight on regional personalities, landmarks

VIDEO: Highway 3A reopened after mudslide cleared

A mudslide closed Highway 3A between Castlegar and Nelson just north of the Brilliant Dam on Wednesday.

Society wages campaign against distracted driving

As April is Distracted Driving Month, it’s a good occasion for SADD’s message to be heard loud and clear

WildWear shifts couture culture on the recyclable runway

Images of the eighth annual MBSS Trash Fashion Show

And the polls say… undecided and divided

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline controversy/crisis/debacle continues to eat the news… Continue reading

Scott’s Diamond Forever celebrates retiring great

Neil Diamond tribute at St. Eugene a fundraiser for Parkinson’s; marks singer-songwriter’s announcement

Mimetic Theory and Facebook

Yme Woensdregt After steadfastly resisting for many years, I joined facebook a… Continue reading

RCMP seek missing Vernon woman

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Most Read