Mission resident Anna Bruic holds up a sign protesting a proposed cell tower at the Mission Sports Park. She was part of a group who came to council Monday night to express their concerns.
— Image Credit: Kevin Mills Photo
A group of residents, living in the area of the Mission Sports Park, are concerned about plans to build a new cell tower.
Kim Kokoszka spoke to council on Monday night, on behalf of the group, to voice their strong opposition to the planned tower.
“We are here to request your help to protect the children and the adults who use the park, as well as the nearby residents,” said Kokoszka.
She said the group realizes cell phone towers are a way of life, but cannot support one so close to an area where children play and people live.
“Studies show that cell towers can cause cancer, infertility, brain and nervous system problems, bio-mechanical problems and developmental and learning behavior problems,” she told council, adding that the risk is grave.
While she confirmed the type of energy emitted from a cell tower is considered safe under Health Canada’s safety code 6, she said the code doesn’t “protect our children.”
Kokoszka told council the code is currently under review and has never been updated.
She said it’s not a responsible location for a tower because it is in the middle of a community sports park, close to many homes and the thousands of kids who use the park are at risk.
“Every single child will be exposed to radiation from this proposed cell tower. Why are we allowing Freedom Mobile to put our children at risk?”
The proposed tower was first discussed during a Feb. 20 meeting. Council heard that Freedom Mobile proposed to locate a 25 metres (82 feet) tall tower at the sports field located at 8020 Oyama Street next to the parking by the south end of the property. The tower would accommodate three flush mounted antennas, two RRUs (remote radio units) and, one future microwave antenna at the top of the pole. A light fixture would be installed on the pole at a similar height as the other lights in the park.
A public information meeting took place on March 16 and council will receive a report on the feedback at a future council meting.
While he cannot speak for all of council, Mission Mayor Randy Hawes said, after the meeting, that from his perspective there is no risk.
“From what I understand, the radiation – if you want to call it that – the waves given off by your television channel changer are much greater than you would ever get from a cellphone tower,” said Hawes.
He added that WorkSafe, Industry Canada, the government and cancer agencies all seem to feel that this is not a carcinogenic.
Cell tower construction is under the jurisdiction of Industry Canada so the final decision isn’t necessarily in council’s hands. All Mission can do is voice its concurrence or non-concurrence on the proposal.
Kokoszka said the fight against the tower is not over. The group plans to have a specialist on radiation make a presentation to council on April 18.
The group is also collecting signatures for a petition. There is an online petition on Facebook on the Mission Sports Parks Neighbours page.