Wireless technology targeted by Nanaimo school board

Nanaimo trustees are taking a stand against B.C. Hydro's new smart meter program.

Nanaimo trustees are taking a stand against B.C. Hydro’s new smart meter program.

Concerned about potential negative health effects for students, the school board has asked district staff to talk to the power company about putting a hold on installation of smart meters at school facilities and if such meters must be installed at schools, trustees would like to have wired meters instead of the wireless.

The decision was made last week after trustees heard two presentations from community members related to radio frequency emissions from wireless devices. One of the presenters was Christel Martin, who was diagnosed with electrical hyper-sensitivity two years ago.

Sharon Welch, school board chairwoman, said trustees are concerned radio frequency emissions could have an effect on some students’ ability to learn.

“We want to do what’s best for kids and there seems to be quite a lot of evidence that it’s not proven that these are not harmful to children,” she said. “The onus should be on B.C. Hydro to prove that these are safe.”

B.C. Hydro spokesman Ted Olynyk said people have the option of installing the meter elsewhere on their property if they don’t want it on their house.

“Wired meters are not an option,” he said. “Past 2012, everyone in B.C. will have a smart meter installed, a wireless smart meter.”

Smart meters are one per cent the strength of a cellphone, Olynyk added.