CBC British Columbia – June 18, 2013


An open house will be held in West Vancouver Tuesday night, to allow residents to have their say on three new cell towers proposed for their community.

Telecommunications giant, Rogers Communications brought their plan to build the innovative towers forward to improve coverage in the area.

Early designs show the towers are not large and spread out but tall, skinny box like structures about 36 metres tall, with the equipment on the inside.

Architect Vance Harris with the design company Dialog said the sites are under review along the Highway One corridor, but the towers will have a unique design to suit the community.

“Obviously people are always concerned when something is going up within eyesight of their homes or their neighbourhood and really that’s something we’ve always been aware of and why so much effort has been placed to make these really a cut above the typical installation,” he said.

Harris said there will also be material at the open house tonight to address health concerns over the towers and past community input led to the new design.

“It’s meant to be just a new take on how this type of expanding infrastructure is dealt with in a more sensitive way,” he said.

“The bandwidth required to serve all of those users streaming live video and the like is just not there. We’re certainly not gilding the lily just for one jurisdiction.”

The open house takes place Tuesday night at 5 p.m. PT at St. David’s Church in West Vancouver.


Three ‘innovative’ cell towers proposed for West Van


by Michaela Garstin – North Shore Outlook – June 12, 2013

Photo illustration of proposed cell tower along the Upper Levels.

Rogers, DIALOG

By Michaela Garstin – North Shore Outlook

Published: June 12, 2013 10:00 AM

Updated: June 14, 2013 11:33 AM

Many of us have dealt with spotty cellphone service on the North Shore, particularly closer to the mountains.

And reception will get worse, says Rogers, as houses are built at higher elevation and an increasing amount of data is consumed. That is unless more towers are built.

The mobile service provider is proposing three new towers for West Vancouver along the Upper Levels Highway.

They will be around 36 metres high so signals can reach above the district’s many tall trees.

“There are thousands of households on the North Shore that don’t have reliable service,” said Marc Draper, Rogers’s manager of radio engineering. Cars were recently sent around West Van to collect “drive data” to determine where coverage needs improving.

“West Vancouver is unique. It’s extremely hilly and a large growth of trees can completely obstruct service,” said Draper, adding rooftop antennae aren’t an option because they are too low to reach hard-to-get areas.

Rogers hired Dialog, a Vancouver-based architect firm, to design the towers which won’t have any visible antennae.

“This is the first time we know of in Canada that a design architect firm has been used to design a cellphone tower,” Rogers’s senior consultant Cindy Grauer told The Outlook.

But some residents have objected to more cellphone infrastructure in West Van. Citing health and aesthetic reasons, such as obstructed views, they say “too bad” to people who want more coverage or faster download speeds.

But Dialog architect Bruce Haden says the towers are designed to look the best they can while still providing proper service.

“Go on Google, and there are not a lot of examples of good looking cellphone towers,” he said, adding the ones proposed for West Van are a new innovation.

“There is a strong possibility that they can be interesting. Look at what they do with lamp posts now,” he said. “It’s a new form of industrial design.”

Graphics and different colours can be added to the towers, along with the possibility of lights to create a kind of public art.

Following guidelines of not building more towers than necessary, these can accommodate up to three companies, including Telus which has expressed interest in the project.

“We consume 100 times more data than we did five or 10 years ago,” said Draper, adding smartphones and tablets are the main culprits. “And we’re going to keep consuming more and more.”

Rogers isn’t the only service provider trying to provide North Shore residents with better coverage.

This year Telus invested $5.5 million in North Vancouver and $2 million in West Van partly to expand its wireless technology. Since 2009, the company has spent $28.5 million on technology and infrastructure on the North Shore.

The district’s Wireless Communication Facility Policy recommends towers shouldn’t be placed in residential neighbourhoods, with the best areas being the undeveloped Upper Lands or along the Upper Levels highway.

While the District of West Vancouver doesn’t have the ultimate say on whether the towers go in because the Upper Levels Highway is under the Ministry of Transportation, Grauer said Rogers wants to work with residents to find a tower design they like.

It isn’t known yet, however, whether all residents can be convinced.

Public open houses take place on June 13 and 18 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at St. David’s Church, 1525 Taylor Way.

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