Ayer's Cliff says NO to tower
About sixty people turned up at the Ayer’s Cliff monthly council meeting on Monday night which was held at the Legion Hall for the third time because of the number of citizens attending the meetings. This time most of the citizens went away happy, knowing that their council is listening to them, as they learnt at the meeting that the town had rejected all of Videotron’s alternate proposals of sites for the cell phone tower. Videotron initially wanted to install the huge tower, which would have been around 50 metres or higher, near the Tomifobia Nature Trail.
“The residents at the meeting gave a round of applause to the council,” said Kimball Smith, the town’s General Director. “Our citizens have spoken about concerns over health issues, environmental issues, wildlife issues. But the bottom line is that the majority of people don’t want the tower.” A petition with 341 signatures was presented to the council during the meeting, impressive coming from a town of about 1,200 residents.
“We didn’t like any of the alternate sites that Videotron proposed. It wasn’t just the aesthetics; the towers were also essentially too high, especially for a small flat village. Our regulation says 30 metres high maximum in a green zone, and they wanted to erect one 45 to 60 metres high. We’re pushing hard that we are a tourist destination – you don’t see any cell-phone towers in Mont Tremblant,” added Mr. Smith.
The question seems to be who is really in control of land use. “Land use is usually controlled by towns and the MRC’s. But the telecommunications industry seems to have a higher God. Perhaps the new federal government will listen to local government more,” said the Director.
The town plans to contact all its available networks, such as the Federation of Quebec Municipalities and the office of MP and Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, to help them in this fight. Residents also learnt that a letter has been sent to Brome-Missisquoi MP Denis Paradis asking for, among other things related to cell-phone towers, a moratorium on the installation of towers where there already is cell-phone service. The letter was signed by all of the mayors of the Memphremagog MRC with one exception: the mayor of Canton Potton. “Videotron has probably already contacted Industry Canada about this,” mentioned Mr. Smith.
Other news included the acceptance by the owners of Auberge Ayer’s Cliff to allow their property to be designated as a heritage site. Council voted to give a $500 grant to the Lake Massawippi Conservation Club for the fishing day for children on June 4th.