Re. Chernoff Drive radio tower
I am once again amazed and exasperated by the continuing saga around Gabriola’s non-radio station.
I can sympathise with the Gabriola Radio Society (GRS) having to deal with a segment of the population on this island who have an innate opposition to anything new in their lives and too much time on their hands (recall the recent pole painting uproar).
It is impossible to make a 40 metre tower invisible; someone somewhere will be able to see it, how it impacts them will inevitably be subjective. If they are listening to the station and enjoying it the odds are good they will view the tower favourably. If the tower is restricted to use by a 60-watt radio transmitter and emergency services radio the environmental impact will be negligible.
At the same time it is quite apparent that there is some dysfunctionality in the GRS board’s communication and construction plan.
Before moving to Gabriola we lived on Cortes Island where I joined the Cortes Radio Society and became a DJ with my own weekly show. Cortes Radio (CKTZ) is one of the best community radio stations I have ever heard (stream it at cortesisland.com). The station enjoys widespread community support and affection. The station was set up and operated by community members 10 years ago – they didn’t involve the bureaucrats and court the inevitable static from NIMBY types – they just went ahead and did it.
As far as I know no one complained. Eventually the CRTC told them that they needed a license to keep going, but they never specifically demanded that they cease operations, so the station just stayed on the air all through the application and received their license last year. They remain as accessible, as local and funky, as ever.
The total monetary investment to date for the transmitter, tower and studio is $25,000. The annual operating expenses are $1,200 per month. Costs are covered through donations, memberships and fundraising events. There is also some very low-key advertising (local businesses can sponsor a show and the DJ mentions their sponsor twice per hour, if they remember). There is no debt and no taxation.
While not all aspects of the Cortes approach would be appropriate for Gabriola perhaps the GRS board, and particularly Mr. Zakreski could learn from this example (Keep It Simple, Stupid!). And if they prove incapable of exploring a different approach perhaps the GRS might consider reviewing their board members…
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