General · 25th July 2013
July 24th, 2013
Re: Quadra Tower Application: Notes pertaining to the site visit with local interested persons and Ministry of Forests Staff:
The group made a trip up top and had a robust discussion about the hilltop site. We learned that it is a sensitive area, and that the top is indeed the destination of the hike, rather than the lower viewpoint as we believed.
The Surveying Company we hired failed to identify the trails and sensitivity of the site. Had we known in advance we would not have proceeded with this location. Another location to the East was viewed, which has no trails and would satisfy the radio coverage needed into Heriot Bay and such. We agreed that it can be made workable and would be a good compromise – away from the Public and respectful of the old growth forest.
With regards to the cell tower aspect: Our application put forth is a for Public Services, Fire, Police, and City. We added Amateur Radio and Search and Rescue as these are worthwhile and important local groups doing good work in the community. These groups are in many of our sites as our Staff are Amateur Radio Operators and some belong to SAR. As a Company, we donate much to them each year.
Through the process we were asked by Officials to include a cellular company such as Telus on the tower. Many constituents and Officials are determined to see additional cellular service. Many would agree that coverage into Heriot Bay will not improve from the Rogers Tower. So our application had morphed into a cell tower, and we went along with it believing this is what many Islanders and Officials wanted. We are now aware that a number of folks do not want anything to do with cellular and are fighting mad about it. Telus did not respond to Official requests, nor to our Company. Neither did Bell. We had an inquiry from an unknown cellular company asking about co-locating and we told them about it – again believing this what was wanted.
Unfortunately this has placed us in between some cross hairs and is causing a big problem with our Public Service application. It has been decided that the cellular battle is not something easily won and we are steering clear of it.
So we are saying to the residents of Quadra that we are distancing ourselves from the cellular issue and will stay completely away from any and all requests for it.!!!! We must focus on the primary and original cause, Public Safety. Our project business case was built around Fire, Police, and City. SAR and Amateur are freebees to the community.
We will be reimbursed monthly from the three stake holders; contrary to a recent article, this tower will be paid for from those Agencies alone. We will install a tower and building to support these users and nothing larger.
If a cellular company ever wishes to make application, then they will have to deal with the Residents of Quadra directly. It won't be through our Company and I will sign off on that. A cellular company would have provided additional revenue to pay for a power line and obviously some profit out in the distance. As tower owners we all look for these revenue opportunities. But our commitment is to the three stakeholders who are waiting patiently.
The site will have minimal impact on the land, as we would drill in rock anchors and support the structure from them. Little will be disturbed. Granted there will be a hut and tower and guy wires there above ground. Power will be supplied by solar which is now down to a dollar per watt. We would like to install a 1000 watt windmill or propane genset for backup during January. The windmill will work well from that location. A propane genset is free of hydrocarbon spill potential. Access to the site during construction will be by helicopter, slinging equipment in directly with no impact to the area. Future service visits would be hiking the trail as everyone does.
If anything heavy needs to come in or out, it would be slung under a helicopter. Heli flights to this location are only minutes from base and quite cheap. Any flights would NOT go over Hope Springs Road, they would come in from the Campbell River side over the Dryland Sort. Residents on Hope Spring Road would not see the tower, nor a potential red marker light for aircraft. The site is too far up and over through forest and rock for visibility.
With regards to the notice in the paper: I made a blunder and suggested to Phil to print a later date, thinking it gave folks more time to respond. I did not think farther about the consequences of the July 31 date and that folks could be submitting past the actual date. My understanding is that MOF has now extended the date to match what was published. I apologize for this error, sometimes I don't think straight being tired.
There was some comment about the MOF website and Folks not gaining access to it. I don't have any control over it and have the same issues. I can email anyone the survey information as I received it.
The second location will need to be surveyed for 1 acre, 0.5 hectare – a very typical lot size for these radio sites. We are asked to minimize the amount of land needed. We are also asked to specify the location of tower, hut and helipad.
So in summary, we will agree to relocate over to the most Eastward point away from all foot traffic and out of site. We agree to stay clear of any cell tower requests and refer them directly to the Residents of Quadra directly. We agree not to light the tower unless Nav Canada or Transport Canada says we have to.
Local aircraft operators indicate that they seldom fly over the summit, but rather prefer a Northward or Southward route. They did not seem concerned about 50 feet of tower sticking up over the trees. If they were that close then there would be greater issues.
We want to assure the Residents that there is nothing sinister about our Public Service application. It just got caught up in the cellular craze. Way too hot a topic for us to get involved with, as we have learned.
I trust that the Residents will feel better about the second location, out of harm's way and that the real benefactors will be the Fire Department, Police and City. Improving radio coverage for First Responders is something we can all feel good about and is a worthy cause. We need to do it in a way that respects the land and its users.
I encourage a meeting and discussion about this as soon as possible. With so much hearsay and anxiety going around, it is better to talk this through now before everyone gets crazy about it. We are not here to ram this tower down anyone's throat – it's got to work for all or we just won't do it.
Owner, North Island Communications
Brilliant response - Thank you
Comment by Mick Bromley on 26th July 2013
It is so refreshing to read Dave's response and of course I am personally delighted that we will not be having a tower built at such a beautiful and significant spot on our Island. Thank you for the detail and clarity of the response, something unfortunately rare. I simply feel common sense prevailing and that North Island Communications are a company with a heart. Maybe another case of heresay and rumour getting the better of our community? Any chance of amalgamating our local media in some way or form? Well done North Island Comunications!!
Letter to Dave Emery
Comment by Claire Trevena MLA on 25th July 2013
Thank you very much for the update following your tour of the site as well as your follow up about the rare plant species.
It’s unfortunate that the need for a safety tower was conflated, by someone somewhere along the way, with statements about expanding cell coverage; as we discussed yesterday, it is extremely unlikely that a cell company would regard this as a priority.
I had suggested a joint visit to the site with you, me and Jim, as he had expressed concerns about the location. I would still be happy to see the new location, but perhaps we should hold off until it’s been decided whether you will proceed with the application.
I look forward to hearing from you.