Council defers radiocommunications protocol to a special meeting

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 – for immediate release

Council defers radiocommunications protocol to a special meeting

Interim protocol remains in effect

At Monday night’s meeting, staff presented Council with a proposed final protocol for radiocommunications facilities that clearly outlines the town’s role as limited to providing comment to Industry Canada on facility design, siting on a lot, and public consultation. Staff has taken an evidence-based approach to the protocol thoroughly reviewing the town’s opportunities to maximize its role within existing jurisdictional limits.

To allow the public additional time to review the material and provide further input, Council referred the proposed final radiocommunications facilities protocol to a special meeting of Planning and Development Council to be arranged during a week where no other council or standing committee meetings are scheduled. Meeting details will be posted on the town’s website.

“Industry Canada has the sole responsibility to approve radiocommunications facilities, but we’re looking to see if we can create an approach to make it worthwhile being part of Industry Canada’s process,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Council will consider staff’s presentation and delegation comments prior to making any decision on this new protocol; in the meantime, the interim protocol remains in effect.”

Staff’s presentation noted that while the town has no approval authority on radiocommunications towers, it can establish a protocol that sets out the expected process for consultation and expectations for design and lot siting for non-exempt facilities and provide these as comments to Industry Canada. Exempted facilities include towers less than 15 metres in height and any antenna added to an existing building or structure (including a tower replacement) that does not increase the height of that building or structure by more than 25 per cent.

Industry Canada has in place specific health and safety standards that have been established by Health Canada. While Industry Canada has made it very clear that setback restrictions related to health issues are explicitly outside of the town’s jurisdiction, many of the comments heard by Council wanted the town to be in a position to bring these health concerns to the attention of Industry Canada. Health experts are welcome to address Council and the public at the special meeting of Planning and Development Council.

The following proposed changes from the interim protocol were recommended by town staff:

Reduce the 200 metre setback from all sensitive land uses including residential, to 20 metres from schools and daycares to ensure public consultation
A revised policy identifying the difference between a radio licence and spectrum licence
An addition to the Land Use Authorities clause that recognizes the multiple organizations within Oakville that are consulted on these installations
A new final section calling for two post-construction documents to be submitted to the town
Request a copy of the Safety Code 6 Site Validation report from the proponent/facility operator – power density calculation request
Clarify facility design policies and preferences
Replace Municipal Letter of Concurrence with a Letter of Municipal Comments on urban design and public consultation in a proponent’s submission requirements

“The proposed protocol allows the town to provide reasonable and relevant comments to Industry Canada and ensures appropriate public consultation will take place within the scope of our jurisdiction,” said Jane Clohecy, Commissioner, Planning and Development at the town. “Industry Canada has clearly indicated that they will not accept a blanket refusal approach by municipalities because their mandate is to ensure communities have access to wireless services. The proposed protocol will ensure the community still has the opportunity to influence the Industry Canada’s decision-making process within our limited sphere of influence.”

The proposed final protocol is not an endorsement of radiocommunications facilities in Oakville, but instead strongly states a position on how these facilities should look, and how our residents should be engaged. For more information on radiocommunications, visit the Radiocommunications page.

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Media contact:

Jane Clohecy
Commissioner, Planning and Development
905-338-4243
jclohecy@oakville.ca

Mary Jo Milhomens
Senior Communications Advisor
905-338-4244
mmilhomens@oakville.ca


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Originally from – 

Council defers radiocommunications protocol to a special meeting