Let’s be clear on the matter of community radio
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as part of Heritage Canada Federal Ministry, and Industry Canada have very detailed duties with regard to radio, television and telecommunications on behalf of Canadians. The CRTC fulfills its function according to the applicable rules of Administrative Law and performs its duties in a “quasi-judicial” way. Testimony before the CRTC is subject to the same law that applies to any person bearing “false witness”.
There is probably only a very small number of Canadians who are not aware of the licensing and regulatory authority of these Crown Agencies. This is not some obscure function hidden away in the depths of the bureaucratic jungle. The conduct of the CRTC in particular is completely open to public participation and scrutiny and most Canadians know that the Juneau Awards were in fact named after a one time Chairman of the CRTC. It is probably as well-known as any major federal ministry, and its procedures are an “open book”.
A key part of the CRTC’s function is to ensure that any particular Canadian who could be affected by its decision is suitably notified and provided ample and full opportunity to participate at whatever level of effort the intervener wishes to become involved. Several Gabriolans did intervene in Gabriola Radio Society’s CRTC application.
The CRTC has conducted the matter of CKGI’s 98.7 FM License with all due care and attention – they have not committed an “error in law”. The CRTC decided that CKGI on 98.7 FM was worthy of a temporary, community radio broadcasting license, in the public interest. Industry Canada reiterated to the Islands Trust its interest in receiving “reasonable and relevant” feedback from residents living close to the tower site. And Industry Canada specified what they meant by these qualifiers. You can obtain a copy at the Islands Trust office.
The “backbone” of the CKGI license is its promise to provide a “life-saving, property-protecting” radio broadcast capability to be shared with community first-responders who are entitled to the very best location from which to transmit and receive communications, and are entitled to secure access on a more or less guaranteed basis and not be affected by vagaries of the market. We believe our emergency services should not be reliant upon ground line power supply in the event of a major weather or geological event. That is why CKGI will provide back-up electrical energy to the tower transmitters and will, itself, send its studio feed in a wireless mode.
And for all those added benefits, we understand CKGI’s proposal that it should NOT cost our community public services any more per year than they are paying now.
The whole question has now, through rigorous public participation processes, come down to one question that is relevant and reasonable, and that is – is the transmitter tower site free from fatal flaw in and of itself for the purpose intended?
The financial feasibility, service parameters, technical considerations, and all other relevant and reasonable concerns have been addressed as fully as CKGI’s current stage of negotiations will allow. CKGI has prevailed in its quest over these past twelve years in the full light of public view and not one soul on Gabriola Island has been kept in the dark or denied access to the Gabriola Radio Society.
The truth is that Gabriolans, through their generous participation in fund raisers, financed 100 per cent of the costs of obtaining a highly contested license to serve. GRS has achieved more than most would have thought possible, and GRS welcomes any person who believes they have something worthwhile to contribute to its mission.
This is an opportunity that, like others in our Island history, can be lost. Please indicate your positive support by contacting the Local Islands Trust Trustees.
Thank you for your considered support.
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