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Few express concern about telecommunications tower in Guelph’s south end

The turnout wasn’t high at an unprecedented meeting at city hall Thursday, but residents’ opposition to a Rogers telecommunications tower proposed to go up near south end homes was clear.
The meeting was the first ever held in Guelph under a policy passed by council in 2001 dealing with commercial towers and antennas, said Pat Sheehy, a senior bylaw administrator at city hall who spoke at the meeting.
That’s because all previous towers and antennas erected in Guelph since 2001 have complied with the city’s policy, he said.
Rogers Communications has applied to Industry Canada for permission to erect a 131-foot-tall telecommunications tower that would be only half the distance away from homes that the city says it should be. Rogers wants to erect a tower at 987 Gordon St., on a back corner of a commercial plaza near the intersection of Gordon and Kortright Road, in order to provide better reception in the city’s south end for cellphones, tablets and other electronic devices.
Sheehy said Friday that the city didn’t know how many people to expect, as it was the first meeting of its type. The 10 people who came out were primarily from Brady Lane and Westwind Circle, the two streets closest to the proposed tower.
“I think the major concern was, are there any health concerns?” he said in an interview. Residents, who listened to a presentation from Rogers and also asked questions for about 45 minutes, were also concerned about the look of the tower and why it has to be located near a neighbourhood, he said.
The city had sent out mail-outs about the meeting to 300 properties near the tower. Residents who weren’t at the meeting can still comment, said Sheehy, who can be reached at 519-822-1260, ext. 2388.
Rogers must provide the city with a formal response to residents’ concerns. Then a city staff report with recommendations will go to council’s planning & building, engineering and environment committee in a few weeks, Sheehy said.
Although city council can take a stand on whether the tower should be allowed, the final decision rests with Industry Canada, which regulates telecommunications towers.

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