A telecommunication tower proposed in the Dove Creek area of the Comox Valley Regional District has been a contentious among residents in the vicinity.
Area C director Edwin Grieve says the district has steered clear of the process because Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Industry Canada) is the regulating agency responsible for towers. However, some people have expressed concern that the CVRD is not involved in the process.
“I’m a little reticent to stick our necks in it, because I think it’s a bit of a freight train coming down the track, but I think it’s important we at least have some opportunity to direct the process, or come up with some kind of policy whereby the residents feel they’re listened to on this,” Grieve said at the Nov. 8 Electoral Area Services Committee meeting. “I think it’s important we head it off at the pass for the next one.”
The committee approved his motion to have staff forward a telecommunication antenna policy that provides for a broader process for public consultation and relevant considerations.
Over the years, the CVRD has received applications from telecommunication providers to install antenna systems in rural areas. Grieve notes that Industry Canada prescribes a public consultation process, and a concurrence letter from local government.
Area A director Daniel Arbour suggests the issue be forwarded to the CVRD board. He noted that the Hornby Island Official Community Plan does not allow commercial antennas on the island.
“I think creating a policy is good, but it will still create a lot of debate as to what the policy should say,” Arbour said. “It would be nice if we were aligned with what our municipalities are doing.”
Once a policy report comes forward, Grieve said the committee can then determine if there’s an appetite to take the issue to the broader board.
The committee approved a motion from Arbour to write to local municipal councils for input to possibly create a regional policy.