Cedar residents launch website in opposition of Telus cell tower

Cedar residents have hit the information highway to create more awareness about their opposition of a proposed cell tower on Woobank Road.

The residents have created a website,, to share information, garner more support and gather signatures for a petition against the project. The site is still in its initial construction phases but the ad-hoc group hopes to add more information soon. It was created after residents held a meeting a Tamagawa's cedar campus Monday night, which attracted about 40 people.

Website creator, Rhys Lewis, said he joined the opposition movement because he has concerns about the long-term health consequences on his family.

"I don't want children having electromagnetic sensitivity," he said. "There is certainly enough information to implement a precautionary approach."

The website states that there is enough scientific evidence that cell towers affect children's health and cause long term harm to plants and animals in the area.

Shawn Hall, a Telus spokesman, said the website contains a lot of misinformation.

"Unfortunately the information is wrong," said Hall. "There are a lot of vested interests that have an interest in spreading junk science about towers."

Helena Lines, a Cedar resident near the proposed tower site, said residents are trying to connect with other groups to discuss the issue. Members of the ad-hoc cedar group attended a meeting held by Mid-Island Sustainability and Stewardship Initiative and met with PAC members at the Woodbank Primary School Thursday evening.

"We are going to be growing bigger," said Lines. "There are a lot of concerned people in the community that are very concerned about the long-term effects of radio frequency and microwave radiation."

The opposition began after people in the Woobank Road area learned that Telus intends to construct a 60 metre wireless communications tower on Woobank Road to fill in a service coverage gap in the area. It's part of a $21.5 million investment in Nanaimo for 2011 and includes a tower in the Hammond Bay area. Telus had proposed the Regional District of Nanaimo's Pollution Control Centre property as a site but in the face of public opposition the RDN board rejected the proposal. Telus is currently discussing options with private land owners in the area to build the tower.

Residents said there wasn't enough consultation about the project. However, Hall said Telus has sent out more letters than required by the Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission, which requires a company to inform residents within a 180-metre range of the tower. The company also ran advertisements in the local papers about the proposal.

"To say we haven't consulted on this is wrong," he said.

Hall said Telus has always welcomed an open dialogue with residents about their concerns and hopes they engage in a dialogue with the company.

"I expect that once we get in a dialogue we will be able to put some of these concerns to rest," said Hall.


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