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Cedar residents have more time to comment on cell tower

Cedar residents have more time to comment on a controversial cell tower slated for Woobank Road.

Telus has extended the comment process until June 2 and is hosting an open house May 26 at Cedar Community Hall, at 2388 Cedar Road, from 6-8 p.m.

The 60-metre wireless communications tower is proposed fill in a service gap in the area. It’s part of a $21.5 million investment by the company in Nanaimo in 2011, which includes plans for a tower in the Hammond Bay area.

Helena Lines, a resident of the lakeside community in Cedar who is opposed to the tower, welcomed the news.

“We’re pleased that [Telus] is going to extend the time so people are aware of what they are doing,” she said.

Shawn Hall, a Telus spokesman, said the open house will be an information session with photo simulations of the completed tower, project material and Telus representatives. Hall said it gives people an opportunity to engage in face-to-face dialogue.

The consultation process was extended from the end of April due to community interest in the project, said Hall. The company has received about 40 comments about the tower, both for and against.

“When there is this much interest, we certainly like to give people a chance to engage us in conversation,” said Hall.

Sandi Tobin, a resident of Rugg Road, said she wants a meeting with an open forum, where people can ask questions as a group before a panel of Telus representatives.

She opposes the tower because she says there may be long-term health risks associated with living in its vicinity. She wants more research into the technology and for Canada to revise Safety Code 6, which governs radiofrequency exposure rates.

Tobin and Lines are part of an ad hoc Cedar community group opposed to the tower. With the help of about 20 volunteers, they have handed out flyers in the neighbourhood to inform people about the upcoming meeting.

“We really hope that people come out,” said Lines. “We have to act together and stand together. We would like to have everyone involved and voice their opinion.

To comment or ask questions about the tower, please contact Marc Parra at 1-866-918-3587, e-mail Marc.Parras@telus.com or fax 1-604-268-2676.

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