A group of concerned residents gathered in May 2020 to protest the planned location of a Telus cellphone tower in Riondel. Telus has since backed off the plan. Photo: Submitted

A group of concerned residents gathered in May 2020 to protest the planned location of a Telus cellphone tower in Riondel. Telus has since backed off the plan. Photo: Submitted

Telus backs off planned cellphone tower in Riondel

A spokesman for the company said the project is ‘on indefinite hold’

Telus says it will not build a cellphone tower in Riondel that was met with community opposition.

A spokesperson for Telus told the Nelson Star that the project was put “on indefinite hold” in June.

“Telus paused the construction to focus on supporting COVID-19-related initiatives throughout the province of British Columbia,” said the spokesperson.

The company had planned to build a 30-metre tower at 315 Fowler St., but Riondel residents opposed the location of the tower over fears it would be an eyesore in the East Shore community.

Related: Riondel protests proposed cell phone tower

Regional District of Central Kootenay Area A director Garry Jackman said he believes there is another reason why Telus has backed off the tower’s construction.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s (ISEDC) antenna tower siting policy requires public consultation to occur, which Telus initiated in 2018.

Jackman said there were no issues with the land usage or Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 radio frequency guidelines, but three residents never received responses to concerns from Telus that are required by federal policy. Other residents, he said, didn’t receive information packages from Telus that had been mailed out.

“I understand that’s why [ISEDC] then told Telus they didn’t follow the protocol, and if Telus wanted to proceed they will have to redo their public consultation.”

Which, Jackman added, he doesn’t think Telus will have the appetite for.

It’s not the first time Telus has backed away from a local tower construction following public scrutiny. A tower planned for Winlaw was scrapped in 2013 when residents criticized its location for being near a public school.

Riondel residents had agreed on a need for improved cell reception, but Jackman said that will be difficult now that Telus is out of the picture.

The province, he said, doesn’t see improved residential coverage to be as pressing as providing highways with reception. Residents who protest tower locations or don’t understand federal regulations, Jackman said, will likely find themselves without an alternative.

“So we’re working against ourselves. And a lack of understanding or willingness to consider the science side of it is leaving some communities in the cold.”

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Cellphones

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Suspect arrested after armed robbery in downtown Castlegar

Victim was allegedly threatened with knife and bear spray

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment — Phase 2 will begin in February. Image: City of Castlegar
Construction on the Columbia Avenue Redevelopment Project beginning March 1

Crews will be clearing brush and trees and removing asphalt

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

(file photo)
Nomination packages available for Castlegar byelection

The mayor’s seat and one council seat will be on the ballot

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read