— For immediate release —

Thursday, May 19th, at 4pm, around twenty concerned parents and citizens

from Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam gathered in front of the Port

Coquitlam City Hall to send a clear and unmistakeable message to the

council that they are unwilling to sacrifice their park space for cell

towers and endanger the health of their kids. It was a peaceful, family

oriented rally, with lots of young kids present. The rally gathered at

the plaza in front of the city hall and proceeded around the block in a

march. It was greeted with many honks of support from car drivers and

many bystanders were curious what was going on.

The mayor, Greg Moore, emerged from a nearby coffee shop, avoiding the

crowd and not taking the time to talk to the protestors. Peter Endisch,

one of the organizers, shouted at him via a megaphone “Greg, you’ll be

voting ‘no’ on Tuesday, correct?”. The atmosphere was jubilant and the

parents were happy for an opportunity to express their views. “This

council is thinking of either violating or amending their own bylaw 3630

prohibiting cell towers in parks – it’s rather despicable. If you allow

one tower, many more will follow. Where do we draw the line? The

council’s trying to muddle the waters and finding all possible ways to

convince the public their own bylaws don’t apply. They’re fooling

absolutely no one” said Peter Endisch, also a director of Citizens for

Safe Technology, a non profit group educating the public on the dangers

of microwave technology and safe alternatives.

At the centre of the issue is a Rogers proposed cell tower in Greenmount

Park, PoCo. Opponents say the tower is not needed and parks should not

be sacrificed for private profit, especially since poco has so few of

them. Then there is the health issue, a hot button, since the tower will

be emitting radio waves 24/7. Parents and school board 43 oppose the

placement of the tower as well, since it would be mere 120m from the

Coquitlam River Elementary and almost as close to nearest residents.

After months of public pressure, council has held a public meeting on

May 9th. At that meeting the organizers got out an impressive number of

people, filling the council chambers with concerned citizens and many

had to stand in the lobby. The issue has received a lot of media

attention as well. “Despite packing the city hall, despite many calls,

near 500 petition signatures, opposition from parents, citizens, school

board, and non profit organizations, this council has not been

impressed” said Andrea Gretchev, an attending concerned parent. “They’re

hiding behind obsolete Health Canada standards that said for decades

asbestos was safe – this council is not taking the leadership necessary

and not even respecting their own bylaws. PoCo citizens should be

worried.” The organizers were supported by local non profit organization

Tricity Green Council and other affiliated groups. They’re promising to

keep this issue alive, no matter the outcome of the council vote on May

24th, and making it an election issue at the upcoming November municipal


“Folks should be concerned for sure. If you don’t already have a tower

irradiating you all day long next to your house, you’ll be getting one

soon. And if you have one, you’ll be getting many more. Amending the

bylaw and allowing towers in parks would set a terrible precedent and

everyone will pay the price” concluded Peter Endisch.

City of Toronto Chief Medical officer concluded in 2008 that Health

Canada’s safety standards were not good enough to protect the public

from microwave radiation and set their own standards 100 times more

stringent. This week city of Delta has passed a motion evoking the

precautionary principle and banning cell towers on all public spaces and

near residences. Opponents of the proposed cell tower point to those

examples as signs of leadership and demand the same of poco council. Yet

many on the council remain unconvinced and argue there is no credible

research indicating harm.

Citizens are reminded to attend May 24th Port Coquitlam Council meeting

where vote on the controversial proposed cell tower will take place

during regular council meeting

Peter Endisch

Citizens for Safe Technology