The demand for enhanced wireless networks in Prince Rupert has continued to increase over the past year with many residents working from home and connecting to family virtually, Telus Communications Inc. stated on July 30, in response to Prince Rupert City Council rejecting a new proposed cell phone tower location.
“In response to the increasing demand from residents and businesses, TELUS is proposing to build a new cell tower in the community. If constructed, this new tower will enhance the coverage, speeds and capacity available for all TELUS customers throughout town, and provide coverage along Highway 16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert,” Liz Sauve communications and public relations manager for Telus, stated in an email to The Northern View.
At the July 26 city council meeting an amended proposal by Telus to construct a 30-meter cell phone tower near Wilson Ave. adjacent to Highway 16, was declined due to worries about the aesthetic appearance of the structure at the gateway to the city. To assist with the matter, Telus had already reduced the proposed tower down from 50 meters, however, the council still rejected the location.
“Through further engineering reviews and consultation with the municipality, we are proposing to slightly decrease the height of the initial proposal by integrating the site into existing infrastructure, which also mitigates the visual impact of the site on the landscape,” Sauve said. “This will not affect the quality or scope of service, and meets the city’s criteria for telecommunications installations.”
Many local residents posted on The Northern View social media page to express concern that a cell tower is more important for safety than aesthetics.
“We are committed to working collaboratively with the City of Prince Rupert and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) as we move ahead with the new proposal, and we look forward to engaging residents and listening to their feedback as the consultation process continues,” Sauve said.
While the city has offered alternative locations for the positioning of the tower, they are just not suitable to Telus for various reasons.
“The alternative locations suggested by the city would not enable us to enhance services where they are needed,” Sauve said.
“To give you an example, the location cannot be too close to an existing TELUS site already providing service, as then it would not enhance service where it is currently needed. Engineers also need to consider the topography of the land, as tall mountains can impede a wireless signal and prevent it from reaching desired locations.”
Sauve said a reliable signal is not only important so that residents can stay connected as they travel throughout the community, but it also enhances safety with more than 70 per cent of 911 calls being made from a cell phone.
“We investigated the alternative locations suggested by the city, however following engineering reviews, it was determined those locations would not enable us to enhance services where it is needed throughout the town or along the highway,” the communications manager said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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