(Amnach Kinchokawat/123RF)

Whitehorse punts cell tower policy to consult local business first

‘What’s a few more weeks?’

Whitehorse city council won’t vote on a new policy governing the placement of cell phone towers until sometime in the new year.

The plan was first introduced at the Dec. 4 standing committees meeting. Council opted to defer after Coun. Dan Boyd raised concerns about whether the local business community had been given enough time to review the plan and provide feedback.

“I would like the comfort that people in the business community who have to use (the policy) have had a chance to go over it and comment,” Boyd said.

Director of community and recreation services Linda Rapp said some consultation had been done but couldn’t say “how extensive the consultation was.”

The proposed policy “allows the city to review and comment on the proposed location of a telecommunications antenna structure and aspects of its design, including … height, colour, type, number of antenna … screening of any equipment … and compliance with applicable city bylaws,” Pat Ross, manager of land and building services said at the Dec. 4 standing committees meeting.

It also sorts proposed antenna structures into three categories. Ross called it “the cadillac version” of telecommunications policies.

One category is “for larger antenna structures that are deemed to have potential impacts to the community, environment and to the existing urban fabric” that calls for public consultation and will approved or dismissed within 45 days.

The second category of proposals “are considered to have low or no impacts on the community,” do not require public consultation and will be processed for approval within 21 days.

The third type includes “antenna structures that have a limited operations time frame and have negligible adverse impacts on the community.” These also do not require public consultation and are approved or rejected in 10 days.

There are presently about 400 antennas already installed in the city, Ross said.

The vote to defer was unanimous, with Coun. Rob Fendrick absent.

“It’s been in the works along time,” said Coun. Samson Hartland. “What’s a few more weeks?”

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

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