Trustees have reiterated a request to the Gabriola Radio Society (GRS) for a survey to establish the distance between a proposed site for a radio tower off Chernoff Road, and covenanted locations in the area.
At Thursday’s Local Trust Committee (LTC) meeting at the WI Hall, Regional Director Howard Houle told trustees that the Regional District of Nanaimo holds three covenants on the site, and “the map that’s been given by Gabriola radio is not specific enough for us to determine whether or not they’re within the covenanted areas”.
Houle thought that one of the covenants required a geo-tech survey. He said RDN staff was looking up the covenant documents for him.
LTC Chair David Graham asked if the GRS application included GPS coordinates. Planner Chloe Fox said staff had made several requests for a survey “showing the exact location of the set-backs and the tower, and the relation, especially, to McGuffy’s Swamp”. She said they had used “multiple different wordings” in asking for the information. She said GRS sent “several different maps”, but as no survey has been done, none of the maps showed the setbacks to the property lines or showed the distance to the swamp in a way that’s “discernible”.
Trustee Gisele Rudischer said without that information, the LTC couldn’t judge whether the application would have an effect on the environment. After some discussion, Graham suggested that they make another “really pointed request”. Fox said it might help to have the request come as a resolution from the LTC. She added that GRS would have to survey the leased area eventually anyway.
Regional Planning Manager Chris Jackson suggested they also copy their resolution to Industry Canada (IC) – which is the body that will make the final decision on whether to allow GRS to build the tower – regarding their resolution. Trustee Sheila Malcolmson said she would prefer to wait to advise IC of this issue until they had considered all the input. She said she didn’t want to give the impression this was the only issue when others might arise.
After more deliberation the LTC resolved to “request again that GRS provide a legal survey to show the proposed tower location, and structure location and dimensions in relation to the existing covenants and setbacks from property lines”.
Houle also asked how a right-of-way (ROW) the applicants will receive from the landowner for the tower will impact a current statutory ROW registered by the Gabriola fire department. Fox said the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District is one of the agencies to which they will send the application for feedback. She said it wasn’t clear whether the applicant’s proposed location will impact the fire department’s covenant.
Malcolmson suggested the application also be forwarded to the Gabriola RCMP and the BC Ambulance Service. She said IC wants to know why an applicant can’t use existing structures, and also whether other agencies would use the new tower if it was in place.
During the Town Hall portion of the meeting, Gabriolan Linnet Kartar said that “the community is not against the idea of Gabriola radio, but those who are affected are very much against having a tower”. She said many people don’t want any more towers.
Kartar also wanted the LTC to look closely at the McGuffy’s Swamp covenant. She wondered how it is enforced, and how tabs are kept on what is happening on a covenanted area. She said it was “important to the health of the environment, all the creatures who live in that swamp – if there are any left – and all the neighbours – at least”.
“We already have the support of the Trust Council on Smart Meters”, Kartar said, “why could we not on Gabriola look at no more cell towers”. She thought this could be possible based on how the covenant is enforced.
Malcolmson said that people have been sending in letters on the tower for years. She asked if the information was available at the Trust office. Fox said there is some basic information readily available at the front desk and on the website. Malcolmson said that people could also use the search function on the website to access past input.
Kartar said a number of people wrote to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regarding GRS’s application for a broadcasting license. She asked if that correspondence was available at the Trust office. Fox said they have the CRTC application and decision but not the input.
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