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Toronto - Protocol for Towers and Antenna Under 15 Meters in Height

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UPDATE

There were 3 agenda items before Toronto City Council Dec. 16-18

  • PG29.8 Review of City Protocol for Telecommunications Towers Under 15 Metres in Height - Supplementary Report;
  • PW27.10 Telecommunications - Authority to Permit the Installation of Stand-Alone Antenna Poles (on City's public right-of-way)
  • GM26.8 Telecommunication Towers and Antennae Agreements between Rogers Communication Inc. and the City of Toronto;

C4ST feels there were important precedents set by these items being passed by Council including another municipality in Canada formally asking Health Canada to revise Safety Code 6.

We especially thank councilor Jaye Robinson for her efforts and councilors Michelle Berardinetti and Adam Vaughan for their motions.

GM26.8 Telecommunication Towers and Antennae Agreements between Rogers Communication Inc. and the City of Toronto


City Council passed this agenda item.

C4ST supported the Terms and Conditions that we understand City staff has included in the Rogers agreement, especially:

  1. Agreement to meet the City of Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance Policy for radiation emissions (at 100 times safer than Health Canada’s Safety Code 6) in which Toronto leads North America;
  2. Indemnity: "Licensee to release and indemnify the City from claims arising from the license" which include health effects
  3. All antenna will be tested annually to ensure they meet Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance Policy
  4. Councilors will be notified of new tower requests and the new towers will adhere to PG29.8 Antenna Siting Protocol

We feel this is a very important precedent in North America and one other cities can copy.

PG29.8 Review of City Protocol for Telecommunications Towers Under 15 Metres in Height


City Council passed the above agenda item including the following additional motions:

  1. Call on Industry Canada to require public consultation and consultation with the city for telecommunications towers under 15 metres in height;
  2. Call on Health Canada to revise Safety Code 6 to meet international best practices in consultation with the public and appropriate experts; and,
  3. Call on Toronto Hydro to adopt the city's best practices, including its Telecommunications Tower Protocol, for any antenna mounted on Toronto Hydro poles.
  4. City Council direct that a sign be posted on any telecommunications tower that would inform the public that the Federal Government has granted permission for the tower and that concerns should be directed to the local Member of Parliament and/or the appropriate federal authority, and to include the name and telephone number of the owning company.

PW27.10 Telecommunications - Authority to Permit the Installation of Stand-Alone Antenna Poles on City's public right-of-way


City Council passed this agenda item.

C4ST did not support this item since this would be a new area of cell tower and antennae intrusion.
However, these new towers will be subject to the same terms as above:

  1. Agreement to meet the City of Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance Policy for radiation emissions (at 100 times safer than Health Canada’s Safety Code 6) in which Toronto leads North America;
  2. Indemnity: "Licensee to release and indemnify the City from claims arising from the license" which include health effects
  3. All antenna will be tested annually to ensure they meet Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance Policy
  4. Councilors will be notified of new tower requests and the new towers will adhere to PG29.8 Antenna Siting Protocol



On Monday December 16th, 2013 Toronto City Council will be voting on a major motion affecting the City of Toronto’s protocol for towers under 15 Meters in height which are currently exempt from public consultation by federal guidelines. The motion is Item 29.8 Review of City Protocol for Telecommunications Towers Under 15 Metres in Height (CLICK HERE).

Item 29.8 Review of City Protocol for Telecommunications Towers Under 15 Metres in Height


Currently under federal guidelines by Industry Canada, any cellular tower under 15M in height is exempt from public notice or consultation. Earlier this year, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (lobby group representing Bell, Rogers and Telus) did release a protocol for municipalities to follow re towers under 15M in height. The issue is this protocol is voluntary, does not include all the telecom companies, and has nothing to do with the health concerns regarding these towers. (See the FCM protocol HERE)

This motion is requesting council adopt amendments to their existing policy on towers under 15M to now include the following:
  1. City Council amend the City of Toronto Telecommunications Tower Protocol by:
    1. Amending the first sentence in Section 3(a) titled, "Preliminary Consultation" to read:

      "A preliminary consultation meeting between the proponent and the district Planning Consultant and/or City Planning Staff and Toronto Building Division staff is required for all telecommunication tower and telecommunication antenna proposals not exempted from consultation by Industry Canada, (but including all towers less than 15m. in height), before a Telecommunication Tower Review Application and/or Building Permit application is submitted."

    2. Amending Section 9 titled, "Exemptions to Telecommunication Tower Application Review", to read:

      "Telecommunications antennas and towers, which are exempted from the requirement to consult with the City under the provision of Industry Canada's CPC-2-0-03 ("Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems", June 2007, effective January 1, 2008) will be exempt from a Telecommunications Review Application. However, notwithstanding the above, telecommunications towers less than 15 m. in height will be required to submit a Telecommunications Tower Review Application."

  2. City Council direct that a sign be posted on any telecommunications tower under 15 metres in height that would inform the public that the Federal Government has granted permission for the tower and that concerns should be directed to the local Member of Parliament and/or the appropriate federal authority.
  3. City Council instruct the City Clerk to inform the Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association of the changes to the City of Toronto's Telecommunications Tower Protocol and to request them to inform their members of the changes to the Protocol.

THE ASK OF TORONTO CITY COUNCIL

Suggest that City of Toronto ask Industry Canada to change its notification protocol for ALL towers under 15m regardless of location.

Toronto is in effect putting it’s own policy in place for any proponent wanting to install a tower under 15M on City of Toronto property. This does not apply to land use aside from City of Toronto property as the federal guidelines will still allow them to be exempt. We therefore suggest that Council write to Industry Canada and Industry Minister James Moore, and ask that ALL towers/antenna less than 15m in height no longer be exempted from CPC-2-0-03 [“Radio-communication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems”]

Additional Considerations


Under 15m Antenna mounted on Toronto Hydro Poles

Antenna mounted on hydro poles will be the predominant <15m towers in Toronto

We believe that cell towers on hydro poles are likely to predominate throughout Toronto. The revenue to Toronto Hydro is determined by Ontario Energy Board to cover only direct costs to Toronto Hydro. This has been determined to be $22.35/year per antenna. This is a deeply discounted rate compared to the commercial rates that apply to cell antennas across Toronto that private land owners usually receive.

The OEB decision is extremely unfavourable to Toronto Hydro and Toronto residents. We believe the best course of action is for Toronto Hydro to appeal the OEB ruling. Since Toronto Hydro is a private company, it is not required to meet Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance standard for radiation emissions. Nor is it required to follow Toronto’s Cell Tower Antenna Placement Protocol [item 29.8].

Federal safety code [SC6] is out of date and is not protecting Canadians (CLICK HERE).  Toronto adopted a Prudent Avoidance policy for cell towers in 2002 which recommends RF emissions 100 times lower than SC6. The need for Prudent Avoidance was reconfirmed on Nov 4th, 2013 by the Toronto Public Health (CLICK HERE). Concerns about the health effects from this radiation has been growing since WHO IARC recommended a 2B carcinogen rating for this radiation in 2011.  Dr. Anthony Miller, one of Canada’s foremost cancer epidemiologists suggested that if IARC were to review wireless radiation today a 2A rating would be applied [the most carcinogenic rating provided by IARC]. See Dr Miller’s deputation to Toronto Council (CLICK HERE).

It is in the public’s best interests, for antenna located on hydro poles meet Toronto best practice.

THE ASK OF TORONTO CITY COUNCIL

Suggest that City ask Hydro Board that any antenna mounted on hydro poles or light fixtures meet the following requirements:
  1. Antenna meet Toronto’s Prudent Avoidance Health Standard for radiation emitted [some 100 times less than Federal Safety Code 6 standard]
  2. Antenna are physically tested annually to make sure they meet Prudent Avoidance.
  3. Antenna follow the full protocol outlined in 29.8 and councillors/residents are notified ahead of installation.
  4. Toronto Hydro is fully indemnified against all harms from the antenna [including harm to health].
Note: Cell companies are “self” insured because they are unable to buy third-party insurance for health harm caused by wireless radiation. It is important that City is explicitly not responsible for health harms as this is an important possible risk factor.

SEND YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE ABOVE ASKS OF TORONTO CITY COUNCIL TO THE RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.


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