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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.