CARSTAIRS — The Mountain View County municipal planning commission (MPC) has approved a development permit for the placement of a communications tower just outside Carstairs.
The move came by way of motion at the commission’s recent regularly scheduled meeting, held in person and online.
Set on a 129-acre parcel south of Highway 581 on the east side of Rge. Rd. 13, the 91.5-metre tower will be located on the westerly side of the parcel near the middle of the quarter.
The tower will replace an existing tower located at SE 9-30-1-5 within the Town of Carstairs boundaries as the agreement for the tower has expired, members heard.
Rogers Communications Inc., the applicant, conducted a community consultation that involved circulating the application to 35 adjacent landowners within a kilometre of the proposed location, including the Town of Carstairs.
One letter of objection was received from Chris Berry, managing director of Eastgate Development Lands Ltd., who expressed concerns about the project.
“Having a wireless tower in this proposed location will place it in extreme proximity to a significant residential development (440 acres), creating an unfavourable situation,” said Berry.
“A tower of this significant height and scale will be an overwhelming and obtrusive structure to our new community. The view to the east of the property lines will use their quaint rural landscape from which the massive span and scale of the support guide wires create.”
The applicant responded to the letter of objection, saying, in part, “A tower such as the one proposed in this area is needed in order to continue providing the coverage and capacity currently being experienced within the Town of Carstairs and surrounding area by Rogers' customers.”
MPC member Gerry Schalin said he did not feel the applicant’s response adequately addressed the concerns raised in Berry’s letter.
“With this particular application, there is an objection and I think the response from Rogers is pretty inadequate,” said Schalin. “It (response letter) talks about the de-commissioning of the tower and I don’t think the letter of concern even mentioned the existing tower; they were talking about the new tower and the issues associated with that.
“There needs to be a real strong effort to solve those problems and come to an understanding, and I don’t think that’s been done in this application.”
Commission chair Gerald Ingeveld said the installation of communications infrastructure is a federal jurisdiction and the MPC has an opportunity to suggest conditions.
“I don’t think we have the power to say, ‘No you can’t put it in’,” said Ingeveld. “We have the ability to put in some conditions that can be suggested to the (federal) approving authority.”
The MPC approved the development permit application with a number of conditions, including the height of the fence that encloses the communications tower “shall be a minimum of eight-feet high with additional anti-climb measures on the fence and tower.”
As well, the tower will be engineered to “accommodate future co-location with additional carriers and to minimize any potential negative effects on the adjacent residence.”
The MPC is made of county councillors and appointed members of the public. It is the county’s approving authority.