A proposed Eastlink cell phone tower was unopposed by area residents at a Monday night meeting in Miscouche.
The tower is planned for the northwest corner of the auto salvage yard on Route 2 and will use the existing access road on the property.
“I don’t know what would be worse, the tower or all that old rusty farm equipment that’s back there,” said Miscouche mayor, Albert Gallant.
The tower will improve Eastlink cell phone service by filling in the gap between the four towers in Summerside and the next closet one in Wellington.
For simply talking on the phone, towers can be up to 30 km apart said Stephen Banks, site acquisition manager for Eastlink.
“However, (cell phone) data needs to be closer to the source because data deteriorates quickly,” he said. The self-supported tower will be 61 metres (200 feet) tall. One directional light will mark the top and will shine up, not out. A fence will enclose the base and a small building, measuring six by eight or six by 10 feet will be inside the fence. There are no moving parts, and no noise generated by the structure.
As for emissions, Banks said the towers emit around one per cent of the maximum allowable radio frequency emissions when measured at the base of the tower. A cordless phone puts out more radio frequency, said Banks.
Ten letters of notification were sent out to nearby landowners to explain the tower, and a notice for the public meeting was in the Journal Pioneer.
Despite this, only Miscouche officials and one concerned citizen from east of Charlottetown were in attendance.
Mitchell DeJong from Marshfield wanted to warn the town. He feels Eastlink railroaded his community to put a tower on the property adjacent to his in Marshfield.
“I’m not against the tower, everybody needs cellphone towers,” said DeJong.
“I just think cell phone towers should be out of sight out of mind, put into a spot where you’re not going to see it all the time.”
Banks said the appropriate procedures were followed in Marshfield and that his team worked with the landowner to move the tower and accommodate DeJong’s concerns.
Miscouche councillor Allan Parks said the company was more than courteous when dealing with them.
“Our bylaws only apply to the building (at the base of the tower),” said Parks.
Rather than remain strict to the bylaw, Eastlink openly consulted with the council and the community before going ahead, said Parks.
While the agreement is with the landowner, Eastlink policy is to follow municipal bylaws. In unincorporated areas, like Marshfield, the company defers to the province or, if the province has no issues, to federal government guidelines.