SYDNEY â€” The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has chosen to enter in a protocol agreement with Industry Canada on the issue of tower placement in the municipality.
The CBRM is investigating policy to deal with towers constructed near residential areas.
The choice was among three presented to council by Malcolm Gillis (planning and development department) this week after the construction of a communications tower on Musgrave Lane in North Sydney that drew the ire of some residents in the area because the height of the tower is greater than the distance the tower is from the nearest dwellings.
With a protocol agreement with Industry Canada the CBRM would go on record by identifying the concerns it has regarding the placement of antenna towers and Industry Canada will ensure the tower proponents contacts the CBRM to show they intend to comply with concerns.
The protocol notes that if the CBRM disagrees with the proponent, Industry Canada will adjudicate based on the reasonableness of the arguments put before them by the opposing parties.
There were other two options presented to council.
The first was to not get involved because Industry Canada has the final say and can overrule any provisions in a CBRM bylaw or any advice provided by CBRM officials.
A second suggestion was to adopt a policy in the municipal planning strategy and implement it in the land use bylaw to regulate towers based on a certain criteria advocated by council. It was noted, though, that there is no guarantee Industry Canada will oblige the tower proponent to comply with such provisions.
Therefore, Gillis recommended the protocol option because the CBRM is not adopting policy statements, amending the municipal planning strategy and implementing regulatory provisions in the land use bylaw.
The CBRM would be offering recommendations based on established criteria that Industry Canada consider reasonable while still allowing the communications industry to provide blanket coverage to the local market.
A sub committee of councillors will now meet with staff to discuss reasonable concerns to be put forth and bring a recommendation back to council.
The motion to instruct CBRM staff to prepare an issue paper regarding adopting or amending the land use bylaw was introduced by District 2 Coun. Charlie Keagan in August in an attempt to regulate the construction and installation of antenna towers.
In July, residents of Musgrave Lane told the Cape Breton Post they worried that if the tower near their homes should fall it could hit nearby homes.
Fears that debris or ice could fall from the structure and hit homes or people who frequently walk passed it were aslo expressed.
Construction of the tower began in May and ended around June 15. Some of the residents said they were unaware of plans to build it.
According to Bell media relations, the company conducted a public consultation process for the Musgrave Lane location in July 2012.