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North Bruce Peninsula proposed cell tower

The Municipality of North Bruce Peninsula (MNBP), Ontario boasts of its dark starry sky, and the National Park that is the core protected area of the UNESCO Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve.

MNBP Council is now challenged to protect its small rural population and natural heritage from potential harms, from a proposed 90 metre high cell tower. In 2015, the MNBP Council voted against a similar proposal, that would have impacted the central environmentally protected uplands.

The Bruce Peninsula is part of the Niagara Escarpment—a finger of land dividing Lake Huron from Georgian Bay, pointing towards Manitoulin Island. Most residents live along the shores, where fibre-optic service—more resilient and climate-friendly—is available for deployment. That said, the upland area is covered for emergency response. Residents fiercely oppose the huge structure proposed by Shared Tower Ltd. (their depiction below), at Lindsay Side Rd 40 and Bartley Dr.

It was only in 2024 that Councillors and residents were informed of a 2022 proposal for a large cell tower. A brief public consultation period was published in the Bruce Peninsula Press. The paper was delivered to residents on January 24, 2024 with comments due in less than two days, on January 26th. More recently, MNBP Council had an intensive course in human and environmental health harms from radiofrequency (RF) or “wireless” radiation, over several meetings. On March 11, 2024, Prevent Cancer Now shared a presentation slot with Canadian Educators for Safe Technology, Canadians for Safe Technology and Dr. David Fancy (see the slides).

Residents in the environmentally protected area include environmental refugees who moved to this area to avoid RF signals. These individuals experience electrohypersensitivity (EHS), with potentially disabling symptoms triggered by RF signals from cell towers as well as technologies driven by such signals—cell phones, tablets, laptops, WiFi, “smart” devices, etc. These residents are enjoying recuperation and good health in remote areas of MNBP, but risk being disabled and rendered homeless, again, by RF signals to and from the proposed tower. Indeed, in an extensive 2023 review, health experts say we should all minimize exposure to RF radiation.

RF radiation affects basic biology, with impacts on flora and fauna, so the MNBP’s protected natural heritage is also at risk.

Why was the process so delayed?

A freedom of information request revealed that the Canadian Radiocommunications Information and Notification Service (CRINS) was retained to carry out public consultation. Unfortunately, CRINS did not deliver, and in the end was not even responsive to communications. With the failure of CRINS and repeated requests from Shared Tower Ltd., in late 2023 MNBP staff took the consultation in-house, and around New Years some people learned of the proposed tower, via FaceBook.

Since then, Council has heard from:
– the proponent, Shared Tower Ltd.;
– residents;
– experts in human health and environmental sciences, and accommodation of disabilities; and
– individuals with lived experience of EHS.

Residents’ and experts’ extensive evidence strongly supports Council denying this tower, to protect both its residents and the environment, as has happened previously.

Final cell tower approvals are issued by the federal authority, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), but local authorities (i.e., MNBP Council – contacts via the link) must make reasoned decisions in the best interests of their constituents, and tell ISED whether they agree or disagree (termed, “non-concurrence”) with construction and use of the tower. In this case the original process expired in the hands of administration, public notice was delayed, the tower is proposed close to cultural and natural heritage sites, and some residents stand to be severely impacted. With the information in hand, MNBP should write a letter indicating “non-concurrence,” just as in 2015.

There is an alternative technology. Fibre-optic cable and wireline are higher-bandwidth, more resilient and secure, and require less energy. You can protect the health of your family, friends and the environment, by minimizing use of wireless radiation, and maximizing fibre-optic/wireline connections everywhere.