Brian Summers stands beside the 15-metre radio tower that has drawn opposition from several neighbours. Dan Ebenal/News Staff

Saanich radio tower approved over neighbours opposition

Neighbours contend 15-metre tower interferes with wifi signals

When Brian Summers gets on his amateur radio, he’s not looking to strike up a conversation with people a world away. The Saanich resident uses his amateur radio to track the sun’s affect on radio signals.

“I’m very interested in how radio propagation, which is how signals go from point to another, will change throughout a 24-hour period,” he said. “It changes through the year, through the season, through the 11-year sunspot cycle, because the sun has such a tremendous effect on what we do here on Earth, not only with radio but with other things as well.”

While a lot of time and effort goes into Summers’ hobby, the real work may have been just getting the approval for the antenna that makes it all possible.

Summers managed to overcome the opposition of some of his neighbours to erect a 15-metre radio tower in his backyard at 3451 Salsbury Way – just in time for one of the biggest solar events in years: the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

“There was a lot of written arguments and objections,” said Summers, who received a letter from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada last month informing him the process was complete and his application had been approved.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that. I had a tower for 18 years in Ottawa, three in Calgary, 16 in Richmond, and never had an issue with neighbours until I came here,” he said, adding he found the formal consultation process educational.

“I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it. It went on for too long, quite frankly, and people get very emotional about this,” said Summers, pointing to one of his neighbours who has draped tarps and blankets over the fence between the properties. “It looks like Jacob’s coat of many colours.”

Another neighbour who collected names for a petition against the radio tower is Adele Caird. When she previously voiced her opposition to the tower with Summers, he told her that she would get used to it, like the hydro poles that checker the neighbourhood.

“No I’m not used to it, not at all,” said Caird, adding the antenna has disrupted wifi reception for several nearby residents.

“It keeps going off and on. We can’t get a signal, sometimes we can’t even get into Netflix,” said Caird, adding she never previously had problems with reception in the 32 years she’s lived in her home.

Caird said she is in contact with another neighbour who plans to pursue legal action to have the tower removed.

Summers said he suggested that any residents who experience interruptions in their wifi should keep track of the date, time and symptoms, and he will check them against the computer log of his radio use.

“If there is a correlation I will be more than happy to work with their internet supplier to come up with a solution,” he said. “That’s part of my responsibility as a radio operator.”

Despite the static he’s received from neighbours, Summers is happy he can continue with the hobby he has pursued for more than 60 years.

“I grew up in England after [the Second] World War and most houses would have a radio with a shortwave band and I was fascinated listening to the propaganda from the Voice of America and Radio Moscow,” he said “I guess it’s just an interest that’s stayed with me throughout the years.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Brian Summers at the dials of his amateur radio, a hobby he has pursued for more than 60 years. (Dan Ebenal/News Staff)

Just Posted

Martine Rothblatt receives honorary law degree from University of Victoria

The inventor has broken ground in communications, medicine and artificial intelligence

Free De-Stress Fest at UVic open to students, community

Friday event features performances by spoken word artists, prizes, food and more

’Tis the season for holiday cheer with a Ken Lavigne Christmas

Enjoy the magic of the season with the region’s largest indoor snowball fight

UPDATED: Police raid 23-year-old cannabis compassion club in Victoria

Supporters gather outside the Cannabis Buyers Club on Johnson Street

VicPD unable to locate suspect following James Bay ‘stalker alert’

Flyers posted around neighbourhood warn of man being followed and a verbal confrontation

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

UBC conference faces criticism over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Province working with RCMP to address the force’s B.C. budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Use of force deemed justifiable in arrest of suspect after snowy chase near Nanaimo

Independent Investigation Office of B.C. reports on incident from late last winter

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Most Read