Pilots con­cerned over tower lo­ca­tion

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News


Staff Two ci­ti­zens ad­dressed South Glen­garry coun­cil last week re­gard­ing their con­cerns about the lo­ca­tion of a pro­posed Rogers cell­phone tower near the Corn­wall Re­gional Air­port in Sum­mer­stown.

Long-time St. An­drews West res­i­dent Earle DePass, a civil avi­a­tion safety in­spec­tor with Trans­port Canada and an avid pilot, spoke “on be­half of a larger group of 25 pilots (the Corn­wall Fly­ing Club)” who use the lo­cal air­port fre­quently.

“I’m here to try to con­vince you to move the pro­posed tower far­ther away than it’s pro­posed to be be­cause it causes a great safety con­cern. We’re hope­ful that you’ll agree to that,” said Mr. DePass be­fore turn­ing the mi­cro­phone over to Jean-Claude (J.C.) Audet.

Mr. Audet is the di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions for the Ot­tawa-based Cana­dian Own­ers and Pilots As­so­ci­a­tion (COPA), a re­tired 20-year vet­eran of the Cana­dian Air Force and a fel­low avi­a­tor.

“I have a cell­phone. We all do, and we all need them...but this is not a safe sit­u­a­tion,” said Mr. Audet. “The tower is way too close to the air­port. It cre­ates a lot of risks for pilots.”

Last June, coun­cil ap­proved a re­quest from Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tions to lease an ap­prox­i­mately 675-square-me­tre piece of prop­erty near High­way 401 and Fraser Road in Sum­mer­stown – close to the air­port – on which Rogers plans to erect a 68-me­tre tower.

A staff re­port pre­pared by town­ship gen­eral man­ager of in­fras­truc­ture ser­vices Ewen Mac­Don­ald for the June 18, 2018 reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing states that the struc­ture “would pro­vide en­hanced high speed wire­less telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions coverage in an area that is oth­er­wise cur­rently un­der­served.”

Mr. Mac­Don­ald added that “ini­tially, the pro­posed tower was too high and had to be low­ered to meet the fed­eral trans­porta­tion re­quire­ments to pro­tect the air­port users,” fol­low­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion by the con­sul­tant who re­viewed the tower project for Rogers.

Mr. Audet, who told coun­cil last week that he has suc­cess­fully dealt with about half a dozen sim­i­lar cell­phone tower-re­lated is­sues in South­ern On­tario over the past year, ex­plained that the lease agree­ment be­tween the town­ship and the com­mun­ci­a­tions giant does not pre­vent the tower from be­ing re­lo­cated.

“In all the cases that we (COPA) re­viewed, the sup­posed con­tract had been signed,” he said.

“But we’ve al­ways man­aged to get the tower moved and there was never an is­sue about con­tracts...Rogers, or Bell, or who­ever it is...They will not pro­ceed if you (the mu­nic­i­pal­ity) are go­ing to turn them down. “It’s time and money.” Fol­low­ing their pre­sen­ta­tion, Mayor Frank Prevost told Messrs. Audet and DePass that the town­ship has “been deal­ing with Rogers and ev­ery­one else over the last two weeks,” and that there “has been a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion back and forth.”

He added that Mr. Mac­Don­ald is ex­pected to bring back a re­port to coun­cil on the mat­ter next month.

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