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Leaders vote against Dove Creek tower proposal

Electoral directors push TELUS to consider other properties, instead of 3505 Dove Creek Road
Pins show the moving location of a proposed cell tower in Dove Creek. The move came as TELUS responded to public opposition, attempting to find a location that better served the community. (Photo: Comox Valley Regional District)

The cell tower proposal for Dove Creek has been opposed by leaders through a vote of non-concurrence.

On March 11, Comox Valley’s electoral directors voted not to write a letter of support to Telus. This meant Comox Valley officials refused to step out of the way to let a proposed 200-foot cell tower be built at 3505 Dove Creek Road.

“There was so much local opposition,” said electoral area director Daniel Arbour. “We decided to note that people didn’t want a tower.”

Director Richard Hardy said the telecommunications company was falling short on promises. Telus assured the community it would honour people’s feedback, he said, but this no longer seemed to be a priority.

Community members for more than a year have pushed Telus to move the proposed tower to another property — away from their farmland. Despite that, Hardy said, “There doesn’t seem to be any willingness from Telus to move.”

Responding to neighbours’ past concerns, Telus has relocated the tower around the same property. It moved the site from one corner to a spot in the middle of the rural, sprawling plot in Dove Creek.

“No location at 3505 Dove Creek is going to be satisfactory,” said neighbour Andrea Burch in January. “Towers do not need to be in the middle of productive farmland.”

RELATED: Telus shifts Dove Creek tower, neighbours concerned as decision pending

Hardy said he also had concerns about the tower because of potential safety issues.

It is questionable to erect the 5G technology because science and research is uncertain at this time, he said at the electoral directors’ vote. The tower would go up beside several households, within roughly 500 metres, and beside a chick-raising facility where tens of thousands of baby chickens grow from a weight of just a few ounces.

Director Edwin Grieve started off more in favour of the tower.

“There are people that have been phoning me complaining about cell service,” he said.

To drive improvements in the community, a tower has to go somewhere, he said.

Despite saying a tower is necessary for service improvements, and acknowledging there may be costs associated, Grieve said, “I wouldn’t want it in my neighbour’s yard.” He added, “No matter where you put a tower in the Comox Valley, it’s not going to be very popular in people’s backyards.”

Area director Daniel Arbour told the Record that the directors made it clear that the tower received negative feedback. The team sent copies of local engagement up to the federal government to show the community’s response.

The decision rests now in the hands of the federal government. The federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development branch has authority on whether a cell tower is allowed.

Arbour confirmed that the letter of non-concurrence sent to the national team is designed to say, “We don’t support this.”

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Connor McDowell

About the Author: Connor McDowell

Started at the Record in May 2023. He studied journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax
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