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Telus tower proposed for south Nanaimo

Telus plans to build a 60-metre wireless communications tower in south Nanaimo.

The proposed location for the tower is 21 Cadillac Place, in a light industrial area near Tenth Street, to enhance the company's wireless network capability in the area.

Shawn Hall, Telus spokesman, said the project is in the early public consultation and planning stages, and it will be at least one year before construction might start.

He said increasing use of smart phones, laptop computers and other devices that transmit large amounts data are pushing up demand for additional service.

"We're working to install these sites to meet that growing customer demand and they need to be local to where the demand is," Hall said.

Information packages were sent to businesses in the area and the city.

This is the third Telus tower proposed for the Nanaimo area.

Two other Telus towers proposed for Nanaimo in the past year have run into opposition.

A tower proposed at 1710 Woobank Rd. was opposed by residents in Cedar and Regional District of Nanaimo directors. Hall said the consultation process for that site is still ongoing.

Telus is also looking for an alternative site to build a tower to bolster coverage in the Hammond Bay area. Original plans to construct the tower on the Regional District of Nanaimo's Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre site were scrapped because of public concern about its proximity to an elementary school.

Hall said if another tower is not added to the area soon, customers will start noticing service degradation in the form of dropped calls and a shrinking coverage area.

"We have to find a landlord who's willing to lease us the space and also has a property that's going to work," Hall said. "This is line-of-sight technology, so if the antennas on the tower can't see your cellphone, it's not going to work.

"We have to find a spot to give us the coverage that we need to cover the areas – the highway corridors, people's homes and the like, so it can be time consuming to find the right site."

Plans for installing a Rogers Communications tower on Metro Road in Lantzville were also delayed in June when that company was asked by the Lantzville district council to expand its consultation area to include residents of a nearby mobile home park.

Hall said the Telus site near Tenth Street is not an alternative site to the one proposed for Cedar.

"It won't serve the same area," Hall said. "It's also on the south end side of Nanaimo, but the amount of power that comes off a cell tower is actually fairly low, so when they're in a geographically challenging region like that their range is just two or three kilometres."

Hall said the three sites represent a $2-million investment by Telus to enhance wireless services in Nanaimo.

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