Brian Wilford / The Star
January 29, 2015 12:00 AM

The District 69 school board is opposing the construction of a cell tower because it’s too close to Oceanside Elementary. The 17.5-metre (57.5-foot) Telus monopole would be at the back of the French Creek Landing retail complex, across the Island Highway from the school.

Last week a letter from board chair Eve Flynn on behalf of the board was sent to Telus, Industry Canada and the Regional District of Nanaimo.

“Our concern is in regard to the proximity of this proposed telecommunications facility to one of our schools, Oceanside Elementary,” the letter says, noting that 450 kindergarten to Grade 7 students attend daily.

“While the evidence regarding microwave radiation emissions is by no means definitive at this time, as a precautionary measure, we would ask that the cell tower not be erected at the proposed site… Young developing minds could be at risk.”

The proposed tower, Trustee Julie Austin said Monday, “as the crow flies is actually pretty close to the playground of Oceanside Elementary.”

While the science isn’t in one way or the other, she said, trustees decided that “the precautionary principle is the better route to go.

“Rather than let this happen and then have to deal with it later, why not deal with it here… especially when it concerns children.”

One of the issues surrounding such radiation, she said, is: “How is this affecting developing brains? “We’d rather be on the safe side.”

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