Colleen Kelly, a long-time County of Brant resident, opposed a proposed telecommunications tower during a planning and development committee meeting on Tuesday, December 7.
Kelly spoke against the installation of the tower, which is to be located at 447 Baptist Church Road.
The application for the Baptist Church Road tower was submitted by Shared Tower Inc.
The tower will be located in a compound area surrounded by a chain-link fence. Speaking on behalf of the application, Tracey Pillon-Abbs, of LandSquared, said the proposed tower would improve connectivity for area residents.
Kelly, on the other hand, was against the proposed tower for several reasons.
“Mayor, councillors, I really want to take the time to thank you for listening to me tonight, I really relish the fact that I can be involved in this process. We’ve lived here for 18 years and we truly value the fact that we live in a rural area. I do have a very short prepared statement, but I did want to answer or at least speak to a couple of the points that Tracy mentioned.,” said Kelly. “One of them is the fact that we are within that safety protocol, distance, that is very concerning to us. The other thing I wanted to mention was that it is said that we have only three windows facing the tower and the infringement would be totally upon our property. That is definitely discouraging to us, because we know that there were eight properties that were approached for this project.”
Kelly continued, addressing the point that the tower is being constructed along a hydro corridor.
“Tracey also mentions that we live along the hydro corridor, which we do, however, it is significantly further away than what this proposed tower would be. So it’s certainly not blending in with the area as seem to be indicated. I don’t want you to feel that we are opposed to the infrastructure needs of the county, we certainly have lived in a rural area for a long time, and we know what it’s like. I also work from home full time so I know that the Internet can be slow. Sometimes, cell phones can lose signals. It does concern me that we are trying to give better cell service to people with phones in their cars, because that to me seems like a bit of a safety issue. We really don’t want people driving and speaking on their cell phones or texting at the same time,” said Kelly.
Kelly, who lives at 431 Baptist Church Rd., expressed concern about the tower’s proximity to her home. It will be about 40 metres from her property line, and, at 65 metres, the tower will be visible above the mature trees around the home, explained Kelly.
Kelly added that she thinks the structure will negatively affect the property value of her home.
“ We feel that there’s definitely better areas and more suitable spaces for this type of of installation. We have four main concerns and, our biggest concern, as you saw in our documentation, is our home is part of our investment portfolio. We spoke to a number of real estate agents who, their first reaction was, get a lawyer. But obviously, that’s not what we want to do. But it was more of a concern that we would have so few people interested in a rural home that had a cell tower adjacent to the property that we would probably lose about 20% of the value of our home, not to mention the loss of enjoyment of our property, as well as the privacy due to the cameras that I’m sure will be installed among that tower area,” said Kelly.
Kelly went on to address the environmental implications of the proposed telecommunications tower.
“We do have environmental concerns, I know that Tracy, in her presentation, was able to say that there are no environmental concerns, no health concerns, but I can just as easily prepare reports that show that there are health concerns that doctors are now changing their minds about that information. It’s still very new technology. And, you know, I don’t really necessarily feel that I would want to be a guinea pig in that sense,” she said. “But probably the biggest environmental concern is the water displacement. I believe there were pictures on the last page of our proposal that showed some of the water displacement issues, we have lost a number of trees that border our property because of this issue. It was actually a tree planting project that we had done with the County of Brant, when we first moved out here. But you should see the pictures that we have from just the storm that we had yesterday, you could probably float a small boat through the area with the amount of water. And it’s fine to say that there will be regrading and another test done, but that water has to go somewhere. And more than likely it’s going to end up in our property in our orchard and take away an even larger section that we can enjoy.”
Councillors referred the application to staff for further study and then it will be brought back to a future development and planning committee meeting.