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Mayor and Councillor Working to Change Communications Tower Process
(Thursday, June 29/2000)-- Mayor Walter Fitzgerald and Woodlawn District Councillor Condo Sarto are working to have one-and possibly two-- new communications towers recently erected on Mount Edward Drive removed and re-located.
Also, the Mayor and Councillor pledged to change the existing process to place future limits on the number of towers permitted at that site.
Both have been working with area residents, the Halifax Regional Water Commission and two telecommunications companies to find a suitable solution to public opposition to two new towers, built on Water Commission land on Mount Edward Road in the Woodlawn area.
A number of area residents have complained that the towers were built without public hearings on the applications being held first. Also, some have health concerns regarding the level of electromagnetic signals being emitted from the towers.
A recent report to Halifax Regional Council advised that the towers, erected by Aliant and Clearnet telecommunications companies, meet all the requirements of municipal by-laws. In addition, they comply with, and exceed, all federal telecommunications and Health Canada regulations (so there is no risk to the public).
Prior to amalgamation, the former City of Dartmouth operated the Dartmouth Water Commission as a line department. In 1994, the former City Council amended the city's Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use By-Law to permit telecommunication facilities, including transmission towers, to be built on the water reservoir property on Mount Edward Road "as of right"
However, the Council did pass a resolution that public hearings were to be held on all applications to construct transmission towers on watershed lands. When amalgamation occurred, the former Dartmouth Water Commission became part of the Halifax Regional Water Commission. As a result, the municipality no longer owned the property, so it no longer had the ability to directly control the leasing of the Mount Edward property and was unable to require that a public hearing be held before the site was leased.
In addition, the Regional Water Commission was unaware of the resolution requiring public hearings to be held on all communication tower applications, which was passed by the former Dartmouth City Council in 1994.
Mayor Fitzgerald said " Councillor Sarto and I are working to find an acceptable solution for all parties involved in this situation. Hopefully, residents will see the tangible signs of our efforts in the next few weeks."
Councillor Sarto said " It's unfortunate that this situation occurred, but all parties involved were working in good faith and I am satisfied that there was no attempt, on anyone's part, to deceive the public. We are hoping to put a new process in place that will avoid situations such as this in the future."
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Mayor Walter Fitzgerald
Councillor Condo Sarto