On June 25, the Local Trust Committee (LTC) held its “quasi-public hearing/consultation” about the specific location of our broadcast tower included in our application to the CRTC and sanctioned by our temporary license. Industry Canada requires station proponents to satisfy local public consultation process before they will give their final blessing on tower siting.
As expected, opponents do not support a “radio tower” on our preferred site. The landowner is a major fan of community radio, and he really is supportive. There is no zoning issue or bylaw issue here – it is Industry Canada’s request of the local land authority to gather local feedback. The LTC’s responsibility is to provide CKGI a letter of “no objection”.
The cost to re-engineer our technical brief would be over $10,000 and eat up much of our remaining “temporary license”. This would be grossly unfair to all those who have contributed funds and support so far because there is no “fatal flaw” in our application to broadcast from this site.
While few can imagine a broadcast tower, acceptable to Canadian regulations, as being a thing of beauty, and location is key to performing our licensed duties, the net social benefit argument needs to be considered to provide a balanced point of view. The CRTC found our application to be in the public interest, and the benefits to the local community in social, economic, and environmental terms are a big net benefit, including the aesthetic “social cost” of the tower. We have no difficulty empathising with our neighbours, some of whom intervened in the CRTC application process.
Over the decade leading up to receiving our license, the community supported our endeavours with donations, attendance at our local talent fundraiser events, and positive support when we were challenged by Rogers Communications for the right to broadcast on 98.7.
Public elected officials have provided their support and potential local public service partners are very interested. Our focus is entirely local and we are part of a healthy, prosperous and sustainable community. Public service community radio plays a key role with other independent journalists in safeguarding the public interest.
What we really need now are letters of support from as many Area B property owners as possible during the next few weeks, to demonstrate to the Local Trust Committee and to our tower site neighbours that there are much bigger benefits to be had that offset the aesthetic costs that a few are being asked to bear.
People should send their letters, with a copy to P.O. box 98.7 Gabriola, Islands Trust, 700 North Rd, Gabriola Island, BC, V0R 1X3.
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