TELUS tower proposed to community again, second tower planned

A map shows proposed tower location with surrounding streets and water on one side.
TELUS proposals for cellular towers on Cortes have been the subject of some local controversy this year. Image courtesy of TELUS.
Anastasia Avvakumova - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 20-12-2021
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TELUS, the Canadian telecommunications giant, is once again planning to construct a cellular tower on Cortes Island after public opposition derailed plans for three such towers earlier this year. But the news reached Cortes in an indirect way at first.

The first public announcement from the corporation was made on neighboring Quadra Island when the company ran an ad in the Dec. 1 and 8 issues of Quadra’s The Bird’s Eye.

“TELUS is inviting the public to comment on a proposed telecommunications facility consisting of a 63.1-meter tall self-support tower and ancillary radio equipment situated on Paukeanum I.R. No. 3 on Cortes Island, BC," it read. 

On Dec. 6, a notice of the proposal was published on—a website also known as "Tideline"—by local resident Candice May, who said she found it odd that this had only been advertised on Quadra.

CKTZ News inquired whether there was intention of communicating the proposal locally on Cortes, in an email sent on Dec. 3. TELUS eventually placed an identical ad as in The Bird’s Eye into the Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 issues of the Cortes Marketer.

Lena Chen, public affairs staff at TELUS, submitted this official statement to CKTZ News on Dec. 15, mentioning not one but two towers.

Our first proposal is to relocate the cell tower at 798 Rexford Road to a larger site on Tla’amin Nation land to the south, and our second proposal is for a new cell site on private property off Jimmy Smith Way.”

She had not responded to questions on when TELUS plans to publicly announce the second tower by the time this story went to air on Monday, Dec 20.

Since the newly proposed site is fully governed by the Tla’amin First Nation, the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is excluded from the conversation. Noba Anderson, Regional Director for Cortes Island, brought the matter up at the Dec. 8 meeting of the SRD Board, and it was determined the SRD has no jurisdiction over the proposed site.

Island residents are divided in their opinions. Some support the increased cellular coverage for public safety reasons, some are concerned about 5G technology, many are asking for a more in-depth consultation process than has been offered thus far.

Anderson advised that anyone concerned about the latest cellular tower proposal should contact TELUS consultant Brian Gregg as well as the Tla’amin First Nation designated contact Denise Smith.

C/O Brian Gregg, SitePath Consulting Ltd., Land Use Consultant 2528 Alberta Street, Vancouver, BC V5Y 3L1
Phone: 778-870-1388

Tla’amin First Nation
C/O Denise Smith
4779 Klahanie Rd, Powell River, BC V8A 0C4 Email:
Phone: 604 483 9646 ext. 121

Listen to the full CKTZ News update, which includes an interview with Strathcona Regional District Regional Director Noba Anderson and Tla’amin Executive Councillor Erik Blaney, below: