Letter: Powerful Public Opposition to Proposed Radiocommunication Tower 

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For our small Dyers Bay community, 2024’s holiday season brought some not-so festive news. On January 24th it was revealed to the public through the Bruce Peninsula Press that a company called Shared Tower Inc. proposes to install a 90m guyed radiocommunication tower at 75 Lindsay Rd. 40, right in the middle of our rural residential community. Alongside this announcement, citizens were asked to pose any concerns and inquiries – by January 26th.

Blindsided by this urgent news, residents were given only two short days to respond to proponent Shared Tower Inc. before the unexpected consultation period expired.

Responses from Shared Tower and the MNBP administrative staff were not forthcoming. Contacting council members directly, we were surprised to learn they, like the public, had no prior knowledge of the tower proposal.

Acting quickly, a concerned community member filed a Freedom of Information request hoping to gain additional knowledge that was clearly not being communicated to either public or council. The FOI request troublingly revealed that MNBP administrative staff, as opposed to elected councilors, had been communicating with Shared Tower for well over a year.

Although pre consultation with Land Use Authorities is the essential first step in the approval process for such a project, prep work on the site had been physically underway for over a year without LUA ever having been notified.

When asked why neither council nor public had been informed, MNBP staff stated they determined council didn’t need to know about the proposal until government funded service CRINS (Canadian Radiocommunications Information Notification Service) submitted its report.

Unfortunately the FOI also revealed that Shared Tower and MNBP administrative staff were aware that CRINS was unresponsive to any attempted communications since the proposal’s origin in 2022, and its report was over 100 days past its due date. In other words, public was told access to vital information was contingent upon a long overdue report that they had good reason to believe would never materialize.

We voiced concerns and objections through numerous emails, phone calls, and no fewer than four delegations to council meetings in January through March. We asked about work beginning without input from the LUA regarding proper zoning, and the meagre 2-day solicitation of public input. We asked about an environmental impact study. None has been done, although the proposed site is nearly surrounded by protected land rich with mature forest, wetlands, and wildlife, including several endangered species.

At one council meeting the Shared Tower planning manager provided detailed maps illustrating that there would no practical improvement to coverage along the Dyers Bay shoreline and at Gillies Lake where residents and cottagers are concentrated.

Troubled by these revelations, our community is attempting to compel Municipal council to issue a vote of non-concurrence on the basis that we’ve definitively demonstrated that CRINS protocol wasn’t followed. This would simply indicate that the council doesn’t agree that the proposal was handled adequately, requiring Shared Tower Inc. to restart the application process should they so choose.

With the failure of CRINS brought to light, our community expected the role be transferred to federal institution ISED (formerly Industry Canada), the default regulating body. Instead, we were surprised that a new custom protocol was hastily created for MNBP administration. This new protocol bypasses normal procedure and relinquishes council’s power to issue a statement of non-concurrence. We appeal to council to reaffirm their responsibility to ensure proper procedure is followed, and ensure that decisions are made with public concern in mind.

Since this reticent proposal was initiated, before it was made public, several properties near the proposed site had been purchased and built on, meaning those homeowners made major investments completely unaware that an industrial scale project was underway just down the street. Further, a single mother on disability will be forced from her home due to health concerns if this tower is constructed.

 If Municipal council has heard our voices, their only reasonable choice is to vote non-concurrence and prompt the approval process to begin again, this time properly.

On a final note, a similar 2015 tower proposal in this exact same community was ultimately rejected due to powerful public opposition. Currently there is far greater opposition than was observed in 2015 – and the same objections stand: no necessity has been shown; the tower would be a visual blight in a lovely natural area; and many – most – of the people living near the proposed site object to its construction, will derive no benefit but will be forced to live daily with the negative consequences.

Adam Hallatt