Town’s tower policy, re-zoning on council agenda

Town Council discussed a communications tower policy and a re-zoning amendment for a local dance studio.

At its July 22 meeting, Town Council directed Phil Armstrong, manager of development services, to draft a policy regarding communications towers for 2016 in order to provide for greater notification with future tower developments. The policy could also examine certain design guidelines.

The development of the policy comes after some concern was raised by local Inge Clapperton at council’s May 19 meeting regarding potential health risks of cell towers when they are placed in close proximity to residential areas.

Mayor Ron Oszust and Coun. Caleb Moss commended Clapperton for championing this cause and remaining involved throughout the process.

The proposal to draft a communications tower policy was approved unanimously, despite some concern from Coun. Bruce Fairley regarding the amount of time it would take away from staff.

“Before I can support this resolution I need to know how much staff time is going to be devoted to this,” Coun. Fairley said, citing other tasks for development services that should take priority. He also questioned the validity of any health concerns with regards to cell towers, citing the American Cancer Society’s website which says that there is “very little evidence” to support the idea that cell towers pose a cancer risk.

Nevertheless, Coun. Fairley voted in favour of the motion after he was reassured by Armstrong that the policy should take just eight hours to complete and that the policy was expressly moved to 2016 because of other, more pressing priorities.

New dance studio location re-zoned

The Golden branch of Stages School of Dance is moving to a building on 10th Ave. N after its previous downtown location was sold to new owners.

The new location had been zoned as light-industrial, requiring a zoning amendment. In order to accommodate the school’s plan to begin classes in September, staff recommended that the public hearing requirement for zoning changes be waived.

Both the owner of the property and the dance studio requested that re-zoning fees be waived as well, due to the Town’s ongoing examination into re-zoning for the area.

Coun. Moss stated his concern about removing the public consultation process.

“Local government is often accused of not providing the public with enough opportunities for input.

“I say this in particular because the owner of the building is one of the drum beaters of that exact sentiment. If it was perhaps a neighbour of his, he’d be very upset that he didn’t have an opportunity to provide public input.”

Coun. Moss conceded, however, that this was an appropriate time to waive public consultation in order to allow the studio to be prepared for the fall. He did have issues with waiving the fee for re-zoning, which is used to cover costs of not only the public hearing, but also the costs of staff time and advertising.

Council elected to approve the re-zoning amendment and waive the public consultation. They declined to eliminate the re-zoning fee, but did elect to reduce the fee due to the elimination of the public hearing.