Pitt Meadows crafts cell tower policy

Wants a set of rules that will help inform residents when contentious towers are proposed

The City of Pitt Meadows is adopting a radiocommunication tower policy.

The City of Pitt Meadows is adopting a radiocommunication tower policy.

The City of Pitt Meadows is set to adopt a policy that will guide public consultations for new cellphone tower locations.

Although the city doesn’t have much of a say on where the often-contentious towers are located, councillors hope new guidelines will keep residents well-informed when one’s set to go up in their neighbourhood and perhaps influence the design of the structure, as well as its location.

“We had a few towers that we dealt with last year and because we didn’t have a policy on consultation, they followed the Industry Canada default process,” said city director of operations Kim Grout.

“The advertisements could have been a bit more obvious in the paper. And in a rural area, you probably needed to inform a broader area.”

The policy, set to be adopted Tuesday, will require wireless carriers such as Telus and Bell to follow a process similar to one which notifies residents about public hearings.

Proponents must ensure that at least 30 days are provided for public consultation. Those proposing structures higher than 15 meters within an urban area will have to hold a public information meeting.

The minimum size of an advertising for cell towers should be three-by-seven inches.

The proposed notification radiuses are: 122 metres (400 feet), or three times the height of the proposed tower, whichever is greater, in urban areas, and 488 metres (1,601 feet) in agricultural and rural areas.

The city will also charge proponents a $1,700 permit processing fee.

If possible, the city also suggests carriers “co-locate” towers and camouflage them.

“The policy won’t stop residents from getting upset,” said Grout.

“But it will be an opportunity for them to get engage with the carrier and Industry Canada.”

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