TELUS intends to erect a Cell phone tower on Quadra Island

TELUS intends to erect a a 73-meter tall cel phone tower on land owned by the We Wai Kai Nation at Drew Harbour, on Quadra Island

Image taken from Telus letter to SRD
Starts at 2:30:20

Notification of Cell phone tower

They announced this in the Bird’s Eye on April 21 and April 28, stating “any person may comment by close of business on June 4th.” Interested parties are to email Brian Gregg of SitePath Consulting at briangregg@sitepathconsulting.com.

Gregg emailed the Strathcona Regional District that “As you know, the land use authority in this instance is the First Nation however we wanted to send your team a copy of the upcoming newspaper notice as a courtesy to keep the SRD aware of TELUS’ plans in the area. We have full support of the We Wai Kai Nation Chief and Council and wanted to ensure that your team is in receipt of this notification as a courtesy.”

In response,  the SRD Board is writing a protest to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to say they are opposed to this project until the community has been properly consulted. 

According to Regional Director Jim Abram, the SRD lost out on Connected Coast funding because TELUS gave the government incorrect information. The SRD had to borrow the money.

Obstructing Connected Coast

Regional Director Jim Abram said TELUS has been trying to impede Quadra Island’s involvement in the Connected Coast project.  

He said the more developed southern part of Quadra Island was not able to obtain funding through the Connected Coast because TELUS provided the government misleading information about their internet connection speed.

” … That we were covered to a degree of 50 megabytes down, 10 megabytes up. That is untrue and we (subsequently) proved it with our screenshots. The highest one was 38. most of them were down around the 10s,” said Abram.

“They cut out a huge amount of our funding for the Connected Coast, which we are all involved in. We just passed a motion to borrow a bunch of money and that is because of what TELUS has done … ”

” … Now they are trying to further impede our movement on the Connected Coast by putting up cell towers that will provide cell service … Also telling people that they can get high speed internet from those cell towers, which I believe they can – at a great deal of cost. That they are not telling us.”

He added that TELUS has also not informed people that they are contemplating 5G service.

“If we want to continue Connected Coast on its way, we need to stop initiatives like this,” said Abram.

Tell wants to erect a cell phone tower on its property in Mansons Landing
TELUS property and proposed cell phone tower site in Mansons Landing, Cortes Island – courtesy Jan 13, 2021, TELUS presentation to the SRD

Cell phone towers on Quadra and Cortes

This is not the first time the Board has learned of TELUS’ intention to erect a tower somewhere in Drew Harbour. 

Brian Gregg was part of a TELUS delegation that came before the Board on January 13th.

“TELUS does not have dependable wireless service on Quadra and Cortes Islands, including the surrounding waterways. This not only poses an inconvenience, for people to remain connected, but also a public safety issue given that the majority of calls to emergency service responders are now placed through wireless devices, such as cell phones,” he said.

Gregg continued, “For a number of years, we’ve been receiving a lot of customer complaints from community members, regarding a lack of service. With increased remote working during COVID 19 pandemic, those complaints have been escalating in your area and, frankly, across the country.” 

He mentioned five areas they hoped to erect Cel towers on Cortes and Quadra Islands. 

Three were on Cortes Island, where TELUS already owns property in Mansons Landing and says it has reached an agreement with a property owner in Squirrel Cove.

TELUS was also looking for sites in Whaletown, on Cortes, as well as Heriot Bay and Drew Harbour on Quadra.  

Proposed Cell phone tower site in Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island – Jan 13, 2021, presentation

Rezoning process

The SRD informed them that these properties needed to go through a public consultation process and be rezoned. 

Cortes Island Regional Director Noba Anderson asked the TELUS delegation “Are you intending on applying for rezoning, given that you have been advised by our planning staff and CAO that this is required?”

Now TELUS has found a location at Drew Harbour which is not under SRD control.

Screenshot from Jan 13, 2021, SRD Board meeting: (Clockwise from left) Brian Gregg of SitePath Consulting; Doug Anastos, Senior Program Manager; TELUS; Cortes Island Regional Director Noba Anderson; SRD Chief Administrative Officer David Leitch

Links of Interest

Top photo credit: TELUS – the future is friendly -Roland N80i in Vancouver 249 via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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