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Public meeting about telecommunication tower in south end residential area

A public meeting will be held Oct. 4 on an application by Rogers Communications to put up a telecommunications tower that doesn’t comply with a city policy on distance of such towers from homes.
The 7 p.m. public information session at city hall is to hear any concerns of residents who live near the proposed tower at 987 Gordon St.  The tower is to be erected on a back corner of a commercial plaza near the intersection of Gordon and Kortright Road.
City council passed a policy on commercial towers and antennas in 2001, because of how many of them were being erected in the city. Since then, telecommunications towers put up in Guelph have all been in industrial areas or on top of tall buildings, such as the Park Mall apartment building in the downtown, said Pat Sheehy, a senior bylaw administrator at city hall.
“This is the first one that is going to be in the middle of residential,” he said in an interview.
The city’s 2001 policy calls for telecommunications towers to be at least six times as far away from residences as they are tall. As the proposed tower is to be 40 metres (about 131 feet) tall, it would need to be at least 240 metres from any neighbouring residential property to comply with the city’s policy, Sheehy said.
The separation distance from neighbours for the tower that Rogers wants to build is about 120 metres, or 394 feet – half the distance the city says it should be.
Rogers says it wants to build a tower in that location because “they are getting a lot of dropped calls . . . and they need something more inner city” in terms of tower locations, Sheehy said.
Rogers, which already has telecommunications towers on the city’s outskirts, says the proposed tower would provide better reception in the city’s south end for cellphones, tablets and other electronic devices, Sheehy said. He said Rogers, will be at the Oct. 4 meeting to “make a quick presentation and give their side of the story.”
Although city hall is doing the public consultation, the decision on whether to approve the tower rests with Industry Canada, not with the city, Sheehy said. That’s because telecommunications towers are regulated by the federal government.
The city will send its comments on the Rogers application to Industry Canada after listening to residents’ opinions, he said.

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