Two new cell towers planned for Pitt Meadows

Residents concerned about electromagnetic energy

Plans to install to two cell phone towers on farmland in Pitt Meadows concern residents, with one threatening to leave the city if construction goes ahead.

A tower for Rogers Communication Inc. is to be installed at 13926 Hale Road, while one for Wing Mobile will be built at the edge of a cranberry field at 16794 Windsor Road.

Although rural and surrounded by few homes, both sites drew complaints from residents who say they were not notified properly and worry about electromagnetic energy.

“[We] believe a cell phone tower belongs on a mountain side with the power lines, not in a strange location where it is affecting the health of me and my family,” said Rebecca and Trevor Downes, who live on Hale Road.

Both companies assure residents that radio frequency levels from the towers would be thousand times below Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 levels, which sets human exposure guidelines to radio frequency electromagnetic energy.

City council, though, hasn’t much say in the matter as the installation of cell phone towers is governed by Industry Canada, with limited input from local municipalities.

Mayor Don MacLean felt the people with health concerns were misinformed and suggested it was time Industry Canada explain Safety Code 6 to the public.

“The people that complain about health issues, they are being bombarded all the time and it’s near their heads,” he added.

Coun. Gwen O’Connell noted similar complaints were heard when a cell tower going to be installed atop its fire hall.

There were people who came to us saying, ‘My child is going to be born with three arms, they are going to be green,’ “ she said.

Since its installation years ago, she hasn’t heard that it has hurt anybody.