Charlottetown residents angry over cellphone tower in neighbourhood

Dave Stewart
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Residents in the Charlottetown’s Brighton neighbourhood are not happy that Eastlink has erected a cellphone tower on the top of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans range light on Queen Elizabeth Drive. About 1,000 signatures have been collected on a petition and they’re planning on taking the matter to the Island Regulatories and Appeals Commission next month. From left, are Mark Pickard, Heidi Hyndman, Menna MacIsaac, Maeve Dickie and Luke Dickie, standing in the front. Pickard pointed out that no one would ever put a cellphone tower on top of a school and it doesn’t make any sense to put one in such a densely populated residential neighbourhood.

Residents in Charlottetown’s Brighton community are united in their opposition to a cellphone antenna that has been erected in their neighbourhood.

Eastlink put one on top of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans range light off Queen Elizabeth Drive on Wednesday.

One of the ways residents are expressing their opposition is by signing a petition and, as of Monday, 1,000 signatures had been collected. They aren’t happy with the tower and even more perturbed at the fact there was no consultation before it went up.

Blake Doyle, an area resident who is leading the fight on behalf of the residents, says these antennas should not be going up in residential areas without more scientific information as to the effect they have on human health.

“I have very serious concern for the long-term health impacts associated with low-intensity cellular radiation and I am shocked this could be allowed in a residential neighbourhood with so many children nearby,’’ Doyle said.

He said residents are also concerned about the impact on property values.

Eastlink says the City of Charlottetown has an adopted consultation process that they followed and completed. The service provider also undertook additional communications in the form of an informational pamphlet sent in May.

"Eastlink works very hard to find wireless site locations that minimize impact to the community while meeting with ever-increasing cellular coverage needs,'' said Jill Laing, spokeswoman for Eastlink. "We are very aware of the public sensitivity around the constuction of new cellular towers, which is why we didn't construct a new tower in this community. Instead, we used existing infrastructure to place a small piece of wireless equipment.''

Doyle said residents are hoping to hit Eastlink where it hurts, explaining that a number of residents have said they will cancel their service.

The Guardian met with some parents in the area on Wednesday. They pointed out that dozens of children live in the immediate area and that there's an elementary school close by. It just isn't worth the potential health risks, the parents said.

One resident said it would never be acceptable to put a cellphone antenna on top of a school so why should it be OK in such a densely populated residential neighbourhood.

Laing says the small antenna is of "exceptionally low power''.

"In fact, it is less than 80 watts, which is about the same as the power of a standard household light bulb,'' Laing said.

In April city council was told that Industry Canada allows cellphone towers to go on top of existing high structures without public consultation or notice. Council approved the permit, indicating that there is nothing it can do about it.

Resident Menna MacIsaac also spoke about possible health impacts to children in the area.

“In the absence of clear science we have asked Eastlink, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Industry Canada to not proceed with this planned development,’’ MacIsaac said.

Don Glendenning, another area resident, said it’s an issue that affects everyone.

“If we don’t take a stand on this tower, at this time, towers could be popping up in other neighbourhoods,’’ Glendenning said.

“This is an ill-conceived location for transmission of cellular signals as the range light has fallen into disrepair in recent years and seems to be in questionable structural condition,’’ added resident Paul Jenkins.

Kali Simmonds, yet another area resident speaking out, says they have researched a number of medical and scientific articles and found evidence that suggest the towers pose a health risk.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has taken the community’s case to Ottawa and has made direct appeals to the minister of state and Fisheries Minister and Island MP Gail Shea.

Doyle says the next big step will be with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. On July 9, residents are scheduled to file a formal appeal.

The group is also trying to organize an information forum which will take place in the coming weeks.

Laing said Eastlink carefully adhered to the city's tower siting and consultation process to select and gain approvals for the location.

"We also met with Mr. Doyle in person to answer questions and walk him through the process we followed,'' Laing said.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Industry Canada, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Brighton, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Rehan Baig
    July 02, 2015 - 10:23

    What i Tell you Microwave is radiates more Radiation than Cell tower, Would you believe? RF Radiation is ineffective 2m above the height of Human being (2m roughly)

  • Fed up
    June 21, 2015 - 12:18

    Good luck fighting this one! People of Sherwood fought against Rogers putting one up close to homes...and there it is...closely behind a home on Mt Edward Road! You fight a losing battle against these big shots...

  • Lee Kennedy
    June 20, 2015 - 02:24

    I totally agree with the people of PEI ...things like cell phone towers and such pose a risk to our children....but lets stop there >>>>> our children have cell phones the risk any different? Come on folks we are into the 20 th century here. If we want our kids or this island not affected by tecnoligy then lets get rid of cell phones,,internet and any way we connect to the outside world.

  • Lee Kennedy
    June 20, 2015 - 02:18

    I totally agree with the people of PEI ...things like cell phone towers and such pose a risk to our children....but lets stop there >>>>> our children have cell phones the risk any different? Come on folks we are into the 20 th century here. If we want our kids or this island not affected by tecnoligy then lets get rid of cell phones,,internet and any way we connect to the outside world.

  • Clampetts
    June 18, 2015 - 16:52

    First the great crow INFESTATION troubled fiasco in Brighton, and now ......THIS?

  • questions
    June 18, 2015 - 16:17

    Doesn't make sense why a school would be built near a power line or a new , small subdivision close by a sub station. But maybe there is no harm? I am just asking. You used to hear of fears of those type of things. Have they been disproved? Are they none harmful? Maybe it is deemed safe?

  • Thoughts
    June 18, 2015 - 13:02

    I must say that despite the issue why the hate on Brighton. Everyone gets upset about cell phone towers coming into their community and most certainly has the right to voice their concerns. I have lived in many communities within Prince Edward Island, now most recently Brighton. I must say the residents here are some of the nicest I have met to date. And not cavier eating snobs as someone not so eloquantly stated;)

  • oh my god
    June 18, 2015 - 11:33

    Come on PEI , get with the times, technology is taking over, people want service in that area hence the reason for the tower being built, Even if it didn't happen because of the petition its going to happen at some point or another as we cannot be held back by these things as sooner or later other areas will have the available services people want and they will move over to that area instead. Yes its a shame that the island is not so much a island anymore but god almighty, its a cell phone tower, if you don't want it then tell everyone in the area to not want cell phones or internet. We don't allow abortions, we shut down a porn store, we have a cuddle store coming, we shut down a hot dog vendor. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS ISLAND. GROW UP AND GET WITH THE TIMES ITS 2015

  • Squirrel
    June 18, 2015 - 09:28

    Let me get this straight, its OK to put the tower in somebody elses neighborhood, while you use your cell phone - tabs etc..etc... . OR wait 30 yrs to find out the effects of it.

  • Juddy
    June 18, 2015 - 08:51

    Since we're on the cell-tower kick, hide all your banana's in the sand too. Seeing as they contain Potassium-40, which is a radioactive isotope of potassium.

  • Keith
    June 18, 2015 - 08:28

    So because we are getting this 'poison' from all around us, we should roll over, when our government is party to giving us even more poison? Industrial equipment in the middle of a residential area would not be permitted had a proper City application been required. However Fed. Gov. powers allow for them to not having to adhere to what the rest of us do. This allows Eastlink to come in the back door, - not needing to find a property that would have to meet City regulations and zoning. This allows Eastlink to avoid land purchase, construction costs and maximize convenience and profits . I for one do not like the Feds having such powers, and on top of that give unfair advantages to a chosen company. Now go ahead and crab on the people of "Brighton", but this affects all of us, - even if you are too dense to realize it.

    • ted
      June 18, 2015 - 12:54

      For Mr. Doyle and all you other uneducated folks that are talking out of your rear ends on this matter. Eastlink followed the process laid out by the city, there was ZERO requirement to notify anyone as per their policy and there was ZERO community consultation required as per their policy. Go and spak to the City if you would like clarification although they've been lying through their teeth about this the entire time.

  • Lucas
    June 18, 2015 - 08:11

    It is indeed unfortunate to see such venom and meanness towards people in a certain part of town. The fact is that the system that allows this applies to every one. Everyone should be concerned that the Fed. Gov. has the power to erect or use any property belonging to them any way they please. They are not subject to the zoning that applies to the rest of us. I don't care if is Brighton or where, that right is not democracy. You should all pay attention because next time it may apply to you. PS. I don't live I Brighton, but I do know they pay a pile of property taxes for that.

  • Ca rl
    June 18, 2015 - 08:08

    I think that we really need a cell tower in this location as the cell signal is weak to nil presently in Brighton.

  • blit
    June 18, 2015 - 08:07

    I am worried for the children of Brighton. If these sinister electrical waves penetrate their developing brains, will they end up shoving caviar up their noses and shopping at WalMart? Please, think of the future.

  • Jim
    June 18, 2015 - 07:36

    Funny how there is no pictures of this "cell tower". Is that maybe because its actually just a single antenna sitting on top of a much large, much more visible structure?

  • KI
    June 18, 2015 - 07:03

    Just stay vigilant and look for the radiation bleed warning signs. They sometimes start with a heightened and completely non-justified feeling of self importance.

  • islander68
    June 18, 2015 - 06:51

    Wow. I cannot believe all the 'anti Brighton' comments. Talk about bias. The thing with this tower in particular is that it is the first one in a such a densely populated, residential ONLY location and very close to an elementary school. All other towers are in mixed use areas. It sets a precedent. The science IS inconclusive. So why are the Feds using the taxpayers as guinea pigs? If it can happen in one residential neighbourhood, it can happen in others. It's not an 'us vs them' issue, people! Makes people look petty when they make comments like that.

  • Waste of Resources
    June 18, 2015 - 06:31

    People need to stop using IRAC as a soundboard for not-in-my-backyard whining. They have ZERO jurisdiction to stop the feds in approving these towers.

  • Sally
    June 18, 2015 - 05:15

    Simmonds gets all her info from the internet, has a cell phone, tablets etc....but not in my neighborhood attitude. She most likely has an herb to sell you for it! Sorry Brighton your getting a tower like the rest of us! Oh and the tower there were so many against off Mt Edward rd turned out all right everyone is still alive lol

  • mutt
    June 18, 2015 - 02:41

    There has been a massive tower at the Bell Aliant site on Belvedere Ave for years. What's the difference? That is just as, if not more, heavily populated with all of the apartment building than Brighton.

  • Roger Younger
    June 17, 2015 - 23:54

    Draw a circle around each cell tower on a map of town. Prove to yourself that the cellular radiation is already covering Brighton. Do yourself a favour and stop using your iphones and allowing people to travel through your area using wireless. Turn off your wifi and unplug the cordless phone you've had for thirty years. I bet this stuff is not anywhere as bad as what you put on your lawns.

  • big D
    June 17, 2015 - 22:28

    That wifi router in your house would output more EM energy than a cell tower 10m tall and 30m away but really even the wifi router isn't that bad either. I bet the wiring in your homes which is AC would be more likely to induce some current in you than the cell tower signal. 'Inverse square law' for every meter away from the source energy drops by a factor of four. And also radiation means to radiate outward it's not ionizing nuclear radiation of alpha and beta particles or gamma rays that's just alarmist talk. Just say it's ugly we'll all believe you but this saying "Think of the children!" is just foolish and hysterical for no reason.

  • Joe Doe
    June 17, 2015 - 22:11


  • nitpicker
    June 17, 2015 - 22:03

    Kali Simmonds and Blake Doyle are laying out a healthy dose of BS. There's been no conclusive evidence as to the health risks associated with this tower. If they are convinced that this is not the case, are they taking up the cause for banning all cell phones and wifi devices? If not, they are saying that these evil towers are ok, as long as they are not in their neighborhood. So kids outside of Brighton are apparently fair targets. If the media had any prunes, they would be asking these folks this question point blank.

  • Philo B
    June 17, 2015 - 21:37

    But I guess as long as it goes in some poor working class neighborhood, that'd be fine with these caviar eating snobs.

  • wayne k
    June 17, 2015 - 20:20

    the micro wave towers are driving your teenagers baby monitors [cellphones]. A normal AM radio had problems in places like inside a metal bus. To allow for best operation and pentration of signal that have stepped up Ghz levels for this. [up to four I think now] {cellphones work most everywhere] This is all part of an overall electronic smog but it will not likely change unfortunately... we are making it constantly worse and more problematic instead. Why are you only concerned with Brighton?

  • Mike Mouse
    June 17, 2015 - 20:19

    Taking any issue to IRAC is a joke, like the ethics commissioner buying stock in the e gambling. When will the public " GET IT" When the previous government, old boys, Got out of Dodge, we should have read between the lines. Who ya Gonna call, Ghost busters ?, probably a better choice.

  • Jonas
    June 17, 2015 - 20:18

    This dilapidated decommissioned eye sore of a light house, should have been torn down, when it was not useful any longer. I am not sure the City was very helpful here. They should have declared this a dilapidated property and notified the Feds to tear it down. This is not for earning the money they are letting Eastlink use it, it is a disgusting piece of patronage . - why else would you sacrifice a neighborhood for corporate convenience and profit. .

  • Hailey
    June 17, 2015 - 20:08

    It is absolutely wrong that the Fed. Gov. have the power to give permits to industries to impose themselves with health hazard equipment in residential areas without consultation with the people affected. Hope they win, why should the Fed. Gov. try to be in business in this way.

  • Yuppers
    June 17, 2015 - 20:02

    If this were any other area of Charlottetown, or PEI for that matter, that cell tower would stay right where it is. It will likely end up coming down, because the people of Brighton are better than the rest of us don't ya know.

  • Reggie Smith
    June 17, 2015 - 19:58

    Here is the thing though you are already washed in this energy. People driving around neighborhoods talking on cell phones, residents with cordless landlines, wi-fi, etc. The neighborhood is going to be covered with this radiation regardless tower or not. If you draw circles on a map around the range of each tower my guess Brighton is now getting the same as everyone else because if they werent getting it before then nobody there has an iphone, as if?

  • john claude
    June 17, 2015 - 19:45

    Wow an awful lot of so called important people in this articlehere in the brighton area. A bunch of people who think they can do as they wish. I bet if it was somewhere else you would not give a damn. Suck it up people