UPDATE Report on Cell Tower Application

Please find attached a copy of the report that will be presented to the Administration & Planning Standing Committee this coming Monday.  Essentially its an update for information report on the status of the application for the cell tower at Thompson and Clark Blvd in Milton.

Report No. PD-053-12

Subject: Telecommunication Tower Proposal at 824 Thompson Road (New Life Church) – Update Report

RECOMMENDATION: THAT Report PD-053-12 be received for information;

AND THAT the Town Clerk be instructed to forward a copy of Report PD-053-12 to Lisa Raitt, Halton MP, for information
purposes;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to report back to Council upon receiving any new information on the New Life Church tower proposal and/or the status of the investigations relating to alternative locations for tower infrastructure in the area of Louis St. Laurent Avenue and Thompson Road.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Town’s experiences with applications over the past few years, has brought about public awareness and highlighted issues and concerns in relation to the establishment of telecommunication facilities within the Milton community. Upon completion of a
review of the Town’s telecommunication related policies in early 2012, the Town revised its Telecommunications Facility Policy (Protocol) in May 2012.

At the same time that Council adopted the revised Protocol, Staff and Council took a position of non-concurrence in relation to a proposal for a free standing 29.9 m cross style tower on the New Life Church property at 824 Thompson Road. This proposal
raised a number of concerns with neighbouring residents during the public consultation phase of the application and brought about questions relating to the appropriateness of the proposed location. Staff and Industry Canada encouraged the Proponents to
investigate other alternatives prior to filing an impasse.

Since it has been several months since the public and Council have heard anything on this site specific matter, staff would like to provide an update on the application.

REPORT Background

In May 2012, Planning staff brought forward Report PD-026-12, which outlined the purpose and results of the Telecommunication Policy Review that staff had been undertaking for several months in consultation with industry representatives, area municipalities, and Industry Canada. Recommendations for revisions to the existing Protocol were outlined in a series of appendices to the report and a new Telecommunications Facility Policy (Protocol) was adopted by Council.

In addition to the above, the report also discussed an application for a proposed 29.9 m cross style telecommunications tower (with co-location opportunities for Bell and Public Mobile) on the New Life Church property located at 824 Thompson Road. This proposal raised a number of concerns during the public consultation phase for the proposal in relation to health, aesthetics and visual impact, and the proximity of the tower in relation to two daycares on the site and several residential dwellings in the adjacent neighbourhoods.

Staff evaluated the proposal and requested that Council consider and endorse the directions as set out in a draft letter of non-concurrence, attached as an appendix to the report. Council adopted the position of non-concurrence as discussed by staff and directed staff to provide the correspondence to the Proponent and Industry Canada to complete the consultation process associated with the tower proposal on at 824 Thompson Road.

Upon receipt of the Town’s position, the Proponent indicated their interest in filing an impasse with Industry Canada. Staff and Industry Canada encouraged the Proponents to investigate other alternatives prior to filing an impasse.

Discussion

Over the past few months, members of the public who took a significant interest in the tower proposal on the New Life Church property have contacted staff for an update on the application as the matter has seemed rather dormant. Both the public and the
affected Ward 6 and 7 Councillors are aware that staff and Industry Canada were encouraging the Proponents to look at alternative locations before filing an impasse.

Staff would like to note that prior to considering the subject site for the proposal, the Proponent (Bell) and other service providers who have a great need to provide service in this area, had explored opportunities with the commercial plaza at the northeast
corner of Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Thompson Rd., as well as the Town owned park across the street. Since they were unsuccessful in acquiring a willing landlord on these sites, Bell looked for other alternatives (i.e. the church property).

Since the May meeting, staff has continued its contact with Industry Canada, Bell and Public Mobile (carriers looking to establish on the New Life Church site) and Rogers (carrier looking for opportunities in the area) regarding the investigation of alternatives
for tower infrastructure closer to the intersection of Louis St. Laurent Avenue and Thompson Road. Staff is aware of the following activities since the Town provided its letter of non-concurrence on the New Life Church tower proposal:

• Bell is still pressing to move forward with the establishment of the cross style telecommunications tower on the New Life Church site;

• Bell tried to file an impasse with Industry Canada, however, Industry Canada will only accept an impasse request once all feasible siting alternatives in the area have been reviewed and exhausted, prior to reviewing and providing a decision on such matters (e.g. lands at the intersection of Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Thompson Rd. and other surrounding opportunities, if any).

• Public Mobile, who currently has a temporary tower on the New Life Church site, has investigated the feasibility of relocating the proposed joint tower with Bell to planned Tim Horton’s site (i.e. the northwest corner of Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Thompson Rd.). Public Mobile was advised through their site acquisition consultant that the landlord of the Tim Horton’s site is not willing to move
forward with a lease at this location in a timely manner. Public Mobile has indicated that they cannot wait any longer with respect to providing much needed coverage to the community. Resulting from the failure to find a site to relocate to, Public Mobile has requested through correspondence, that the Town give approval of the existing application proposed for 824 Thompson Road.

• Rogers has shown an interest in the area of Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Thompson Rd. for quite some time and has continued to work with the commercial plaza at the northeast corner of the above noted intersection to establish an agreement. Rogers and Bell have been in touch with one another to discuss opportunities in the past and more recently for co-location at this location. Rogers has noted that they have been unsuccessful in finalizing an agreement to date with the landowner and they do not have an estimate on
when they will have a concrete proposal to move forward with. They will keep Bell, the Town, and Industry Canada apprised of their progress.

• All options in the area, with a focus at this point on the intersection of Louis St. Laurent Ave. and Thompson Rd. are under review.
Even some of the alternatives mentioned above may be viable, Staff is uncertain at this point whether delays in securing a landlord would have any effect on Industry Canada’s decision to overturn the Town’s position, should a formal impasse be filed and accepted.

Members of the Public who have continued their contact with Planning staff on this matter have also been discussing their concerns with the New Life Church tower proposal with Halton MP Lisa Raitt. To ensure that Ms. Raitt continues to be informed, this report will be forwarded to her office.

Staff will endeavour to continue discussions with all parties involved and provide an update to Council as new information is available.

If you have any questions after reading the report, please let me know.

Report on Cell Tower Expected Soon

Looking at the upcoming reports listed on the Town of Milton website recently shows that there is a report on the Bell cell tower proposal at New Life Church is expected to be presented to the members of the Administration & Planning standing committee (of which I am a voting member) on May 14th.

There has been an exhaustive amount of information presented during this process.  If you remember back on March 1st, I was the first to point out this potential development in our area.  From that point on, I have done extensive research in this field and believe me, my eyes are bleary with the sheer number of reports out there, and talked with residents in the immediate and surrounding areas to get their views on the proposal.  You can also contact Halton MP Lisa Raitt’s office by going to http://www.lisaraittmp.com/?page_id=12 and sending in your comments & concerns.

The most vocal have been those who oppose the tower in our area, but I have discussed this with a number of residents who are in support of the tower and allowing the New Life Church to move forward with it.  I will be the first to admit there is a lot of information on both sides of this, and as I mentioned in a Champion article, this debate is very similar to the debate the Region of Halton recently had regarding fluoride in the water.  Emotions have been running high as the process moved forward.

I await the receipt of this report, as many residents in our wards are and as soon as its made available I will have a link to the report here.

So mark your calendars for May 14th at Milton Town Hall.  The meeting starts at 7pm and if you would like to speak on the report, you can register as a delegation for the meeting.  I will have all the information available when the report is ready.

Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.

Admin & Planning Standing Committee April 16 2012

This coming Monday night April 16th will be the Administration & Planning Standing Committee meeting at Town Hall starting at 7pm.

This Committee consists of five Councillors and the Mayor. Committee members review all reports, formulate policy and make recommendations to Council on matters over which Council has authority under the Municipal Act, the Planning Act and other legislation. Recommendations are made in the areas of corporate administration, personnel, legal issues, planning and finance.

The Administration and Planning Committee reviews the operating and capital budgets as well as various financial matters affecting the Town of Milton.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here.

Some of the highlights include:

As always you can watch online on Monday night at 7pm.  If you have any questions or comments for any of these reports, please email me mike@mikecluett.ca

Milton Town Council Meeting March 26 2012

The next meeting of Milton Town Council is on Monday March 26, 2012 starting at 7pm at Milton Town Hall.

The governing body of the Town of Milton is Town Council, consisting of the Mayor and 10 Councillors who represent Milton’s eight wards.  Milton residents elect members of Council for a four-year term of office.  You can find a link to watch the Town Council meetings here.  The meetings are also broadcast on TV Cogeco (Channel 14).

Town Council deals with:

  • Matters requiring policy direction
  • By-laws or by-law amendments
  • Responses or actions to pertinent issues

Council also makes decisions on the recommendations of Milton’s two Standing Committees of Council:

  • Administration & Planning Committee
  • Community Services Committee

The link to the agenda can be found here.

Some of the highlites in the agenda are as follows:

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email me mike@mikecluett.ca You can also go to the Watch Online link on my page to view from the comfort of your home.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Weekend Reading

As I posted in my recent entry for the Administration & Planning Standing Committee, there are a number of issues to be discussed this coming Monday night.

One of them is a public meeting regarding a proposed zoning bylaw amendment for a property at Thompson Road and Louis St Laurent.  There is an application moved by the owners to allow the construction of a Tim Hortons restaurant on that land, located at the north west corner.  Right now its vacant land, not well kept up and lacking a sidewalk to allow for pedestrians to safely cross the street.

Here is a link to the application.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to attend the meeting at Town Hall this coming Monday March 19th at 7pm to have your say.  As always you can email your questions to me mike@mikecluett.ca and I can ask them on your behalf.

Some of the concerns that I will raise at the meeting is the possibility of traffic concerns in the area.  As with many drive through restaurants there is a concern of overflow traffic at peak times coming on the road, which can lead to potential issues.  After meeting with the designers of the property a few weeks ago, they showed me diagrams of what it will look like and hopefully will address those concerns.  If the zoning bylaw change goes through, there is still a lot to be done before the shovel hits the ground.  There will be traffic studies done to gain some insight of what might happen if the restaurant goes through.

Another item that will be discussed (in the consent agenda) is the report from staff on Milton Town Council’s salaries and expenses for 2011.  Ive attached a quick snap shot of the report listed by individual councillor.

There is also a technical report that will be presented by staff on a recomendation of a zoning bylaw change for the property located in the area around Ferguson (north of Clark Blvd) , Armstrong and Derry Road.  If you live near the area its where a number of homes will be built soon and its getting ready for construction.  Also in the area is the property that will be a future public school at Sauve Road & Ferguson.  The report is outlining why the bylaw should be changed from Holding status to RMD which is residential medium density development.

Ive attached a map of the area from the report.

Here is a link to the report.

And finally there will be presentation from staff on reaction to the provincial governments recent release of the Drummond Report.  If you have had a chance to review the close to 500 page report, you will know there are many recommendations made to the provincial government to reduce the over $16 billion deficit.  These recommendations arent guaranteed but many of them have caused the ears of municipalities like Milton and Halton’s ears perk up.

Here is a link to the staff report on Drummond.

If you have any questions on these or other matters at this meeting, feel free to call  or email me and let me know.