Residents of one Saanich neighbourhood are sending out a strong signal of opposition to a neighbour’s proposal to erect a radio tower in his backyard.
“We’re just trying to get the word out and trying to fight it anyway we can,” said Susanne ’Sanni’ Rosebrock, who lives next door to the home at 3451 Salsbury Way where the tower would be installed.
Rosebrock and her neighbour Adele Caird voiced their opposition to an application by Brian Summers to build a 15-metre amateur radio antenna and tower in his backyard.
Caird wrote to members of Saanich council, citing concerns with privacy, esthetics and declining property values.
“Nobody wants to move into an area that has a 50-foot radio tower. They’ll see that and they’re not interested,” said Caird, who has collected 25 names on a petition from neighbours opposed to the radio antenna.
For Brian Summers, it’s just the continuation of a hobby that has spanned 60 years and stretched across the country and beyond.
“I’m following a federal government-mandated consultation procedure with neighbours,” said Summers, adding he has erected radio towers at his former homes in Ottawa, Calgary and Richmond without a problem from neighbours.
Summers said while a few neighbours might be concerned because the tower is new to the area, he believes they wouldn’t even notice it after a few days.
“If I look across the road I see a 40-foot hydro pole with a grey, big transformer on top and wires running up and down the street and backwards and forwards and nobody seems to be concerned about it.”
While Rosebrock and Caird have taken their concerns to Saanich council, the district’s hands are tied on the matter.
District manager of current planning Jarret Matanowitsch said the decision rests with Industry Canada.
“They set the standards of when consultation is required by the proponent with the municipality, and there’s certain criteria around that,” said Matanowitsch, adding that the current proposal does not meet the criteria.
“If it were over 15 metres and it had to come to Saanich for consultation, that’s when Saanich council could make a formal response. In this case Industry Canada does not require consultation so Saanich won’t be providing any comments.”
Rosebrock and Caird submitted the petition and letters of concern to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, who are responsible for making the decision.
“My neighbours, my family and I all believe that Mr. Summers is disrupting our way of life to appease his hobby,” said Caird, adding the residents should not have to sacrifice their property values “just so one man can play with his hobby.”
Hans Parmar, media relations with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, said while a tower under 15 metres would normally be exempt, Summers was asked to go through the consultation process, “given the close proximity to neighbours and the opposition that was expressed.”
That consultation process gives the public 30 days to provide written comment. The proponent must respond to those writing within 14 days acknowledging receipt of the comments, and address all relevant concerns within 60 days.
Rosebrock and Caird aren’t holding out a lot of hope that their concerns will be enough to prevent the tower from being constructed.
“We’re just hoping to spread the word,” said Rosebrock. “I think it would be good if more people knew about this, and maybe those who are opposed will [speak out as well].”