Cedar cell tower part of Telus's plan for better service

A proposed cell tower in the Cedar area hasn’t met the same public outcry that made the Regional District of Nanaimo reject a proposed site earlier this year.

Telus intends to build a 60-metre wireless communication tower at 1710 Woobank Rd.

Shawn Hall, a Telus spokesman, said the company sent letters to residents in the area in late March inform them of the plans.

“It’s a very rural area, so we are not planning on a public hearing at this point,” he said.

Hall said there have been no complaints about the tower location. Only a few questions were received.

“There is a growing demand for wireless services in the community,” said Hall. “It is a routine installation to fill in a coverage gap.”

A similar Telus proposal to build a tower at the RDN’s Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre was rejected after residents and parents of students at the nearby Hammond Bay Elementary School voiced  concerns in late February.

Residents didn’t want the tower within 500 metres of a school, with concerns raised about the long-term health effects of cellular radiation.

That proposed tower is a $500,000 to $2-million investment and the agreement with the RDN would have paid the district $24,500 annually. Telus is now looking at a handful of private property sites for the tower, which would fill in cellular coverage gaps in the Hammond Bay area.

Both proposed towers are part of the company's plan to expand and enhance wireless and line networks in the city. Hall said they are the only two planned for Nanaimo this year.

The company plans to invest $21.5 million is various infrastructure projects this year in Nanaimo, and a total of $670 million provincewide. The company is looking to construct about 80 cell towers across B.C. this year.

Hall said the big push in Nanaimo is to lay lines for Optik TV, which is expected to be available later this year, and for Internet services. Hall said it will give internet customers faster speeds and more television choices. The new line is expected to offer customers speeds up to 25 megabits per second.

Optik TV is rolling out to neighbourhoods gradually, with some in Nanaimo already receiving the service. Once a large number of households have the service, Telus will announce the official launch of the service.

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