Discussion not over for Bell tower siting


By Barb McKay

The municipality may have more say in where a new Bell Mobility tower will be located than was first realized.


According to representatives from Heritage Kincardine, Industry Canada does not dictate where wireless telecommunications towers are placed. Sylvia Leigh, of Heritage Kincardine, told The Independent last week that the committee had researched the matter on Industry Canada’s website and had talked to an Industry Canada official.


“They said that it is supposed to be a negotiated decision between the service provider and the municipality,” she said.


Bell Mobility is proposing to construct a 25-metre tower on the Kincardine Legion property after inking a lease agreement with the Legion, in order to provide better wireless service in the downtown core and in the beach area. Bell brought the plan to Kincardine council on April 9 to get concurrence that proper procedures had been followed, including giving public notice. Council was also asked to approve a sign the Legion logo that will shroud the top of the tower.


During the meeting members of Heritage Kincardine expressed concern that they hadn’t been consulted about the tower, given that the Legion property has a heritage designation, as do many other neighbouring properties. Legion secretary Bob Gray said the original Legion building, formerly the Ardloch Lodge, had historical significance but that was destroyed in the 1970s when the new hall was added to the building and out buildings were torn down. With no government funding, he noted, income from the lease would help to keep the Legion viable.


Council left the meeting with the understanding that they had no say where the tower is erected.


Leigh said Heritage Kincardine would like Bell to consider other locations where there would be less of an impact to heritage designations and to residents. She said the committee understands the need to make technology available, particularly during tourism season.


“I would like to see this be a win/win,” she said. “You can’t have free Wifi and not have a way to get it to customers.”


Kincardine’s clerks department confirmed last week that staff has since begun to look into the issue as well and a meeting will be held this week with representatives from Bell Mobility, the Kincardine Legion and Heritage Kincardine to discuss it further.