Mayor lends support to cell tower fight
A group of Mississauga residents opposed to a cell phone tower being built in the city’s west end has enlisted Mayor Hazel McCallion as an ally in its fight.
Representatives from the Mississauga Oakridge Ratepayers’ Association (MORA) appeared at General Committee on Wednesday (Dec. 7) to speak about Bell’s plans for a 29.9-metre tower at 1261 North Sheridan Way.
MORA president John McGlone told councillors the organization is disputing Industry Canada’s assertion that public consultation requirements were met. McGlone said nine homes were supposed to receive notification, but five did not.
McCallion said, if that’s the case, she’ll speak to the industry minister about the matter and ask for the tower to be halted.
“If you would provide me with evidence that the … people who should have been notified weren’t notified, I’ll call the minister and say it has to stop for that reason, if no other reason,” said McCallion.
Last month, the City of Mississauga requested Industry Canada step in to mediate the dispute. The federal body, which is responsible for cell towers, subsequently sent a written response to the City saying Bell had “satisfied all the requirements” and is “entitled to construct” the tower.
The response also noted the municipality sent a letter of concurrence to Bell in April regarding the tower site.
Resident Fiona Mascarenhas, who lives with her husband and daughter on Chippewa Trail, also appeared before councillors and took issue with the notification process. She said Bell sent out pamphlets that resemble “junk mail” and that many residents would overlook them.
McCallion believes such notifications should be sent as registered mail, requiring a signature from residents as proof of receipt.
McGlone said his organization will continue to vigorously oppose the tower.
“We are unrelenting and we will make sure the right thing is done,” said McGlone. “We won’t tolerate this treatment of our community. Right now, what we want is (the tower) stopped.”
He noted MORA has retained legal representation and is considering its options.
“(MORA will) proceed to legal action to stop this tower, if necessary,” he said.
Ward 8 Councillor Katie Mahoney has spoken with Bell representatives and suggested they begin a dialogue with the community.
“I think Bell should listen to the concerns of the neighbourhood and work with them instead of going ahead,” said Mahoney.
In a letter being sent to residents, Mahoney notes the tower is being built on private property and the City cannot prevent the installation.
Bell officials say the company has followed proper notification procedure and has met all requirements when it comes to the tower’s placement.
“As a condition of our licence, Bell meets or exceeds the strict regulations set out by Industry Canada regarding the location, safety and operation of cell sites,” said Bell spokesperson Jacqueline Michelis.
Michelis said the site was chosen following a “rigorous” selection process that included consulting with the community between January and February and also with the City. She said all residents and businesses within 90 metres (three times the height of the tower) were notified by mail that the site had been selected.
Residents are concerned about possible unknown health risks associated with the tower. They’re also worried about it affecting their property values.