Oakridge residents angry over proposed Telus tower

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Some south Vancouver residents are angry at city hall and Telus because they weren’t consulted about the construction of a 14.9 meter cell-boosting tower near Oak and 49 Ave.

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Community activist Fred Chiu at the installation site for the proposed 14.9 metre Telus tower. Photo by Bill Everitt.

Fred and Linda Chiu, who live four houses from the construction site, said the city sold them out by allowing Telus to build the station slightly below the 15-meter threshold that would have required community consultation.

Tower site will have electric carcharging station

They said the tradeoff was an electric car-charging station that will be a part of the site.

“The city wants to be green, so they let Telus put in the tower and they get a free electric car-charging station,” said Linda Chiu.

The Chius led a protest that began on June 22 and are responsible for signs with messages such as “kids not microwave safe,” and “Telus is not friendly,” posted around the intersection.

The couple said that they don’t want to live next to a cell tower because it’s a health concern; cell towers emit radiation.

Tienfu Kuo, who lives across the street, agrees. He doesn’t trust Telus or medical research showing these sites are safe.

“My friends said the microwaves will be very strong,” he said.

Doctor dismisses fears over radiation

However, Dr. Patricia Daly of the Vancouver Health Authority said those fears are unfounded.

“Cell towers have never been shown to cause any health concerns,” said Daly. “A lot of people don’t understand . . . magnetic fields are produced by things they use everyday, like baby monitors, or any electrical appliance.”

According to Daly, all cellphone sites in Canada are built in accordance with Safety Code 6, a federal code that limits human radiation exposure.

Telus surprised over backlash

Telus spokesperson Liz Sauvé was surprised to hear about the resistance from the community members and added the pole is necessary to boost cell reception in an area heavily congested with wireless traffic.

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Linda Chiu with a lawn sign she made. Photo by Bill Everitt.

“We are investing $400,00 to enhance coverage in this neighbourhood in response to frequent complaints that service is degrading,” said Sauvé. “Typically the only complaint we receive from customers is what we’re not building them fast enough.”

Reported by Bill Everitt

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