Big objections to cell tower location

Cathy Dobson 

Point Edward Village council is formally objecting to the proposed location of a 50-metre telecommunications tower that promises to greatly improve cell phone service for area users.

Signum Wireless wants to build a steel tower roughly 10 storeys high on the north side of Bridgeview Marina property at 1 Marina Rd.

The tower will support antenna and microwave equipment for multiple cell phone service providers and improve high-speed data and reliability.

The company’s submission for public review says there’s a “great need” for new wireless signal in the Point Edward/Sarnia area and that the tower will provide better sound quality, data quality and fewer dropped calls.

Currently, cellular coverage is “poor,” according to Signum Wireless.

But village council and a handful of local residents say they don’t like the company’s preferred location and want Signum to consider other spots within Point Edward.

“I believe (this location choice) is flawed,” said Coun. Larry Gordon. He made a motion, supported by the rest of council, to object based on the site’s incompatibility with existing and pending housing development.

Signum’s preferred site is 116 metres southwest of Venetian Boulevard and would obstruct the view of at least 24 units in Venetian Village, according to resident Bob Grimshaw.

The tower “is the worst possible type for an urban location – big and bulky,” he told council.

Hundreds of condo owners on Venetian Boulevard bought there, in part, because of the view and the tower would make a “major difference,” said Grimshaw.

“We want to support better service for the area but object to the proposed location.”

Gerry Lee of Cantaqleigh Investments also submitted a written objection saying the tower at that location would impede future development.  His company owns 36 acres to the west and to the south that “is waiting for new waterfront residential communities,” Lee wrote.

Installation of the tower in the Point Edward waterfront area would “seriously reduce the attractiveness of the area to existing and potential residents and visitors,” he said.

Both Grimshaw and village council suggested Signum Wireless consider locating the tower on other waterfront property at Bridgeview Marina, Purdy’s Fisheries, Cargill Elevators or the Bluewater Bridge Authority.

The public has until Sept. 23 to submit written comments or questions to: FONTUR International Inc., 70 East Beaver Creek Rd., Suite 22, Richmond Hill, L4B 3B2. Fax: 866-234-7873 or email ON1276.signum.info@fonturinternational.com.

The federal government is the licensing body for telecommunication towers and will make the final decision.