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Bracebridge receives legal pushback for denying the Rogers tower concurrence request
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Bracebridge receives legal pushback for denying the Rogers tower concurrence request

Posted: 2024-06-14 07:24:34 By: thebay

Bracebridge Council received legal pushback for denying the new Rogers telecommunications tower concurrence request, in the June 12, 2024, meeting.

Last week General Committee denied the request for a Letter of Concurrence for the Rogers telecommunication tower at 2819 Highway 118 East.

Although the ultimate decision is in the hands of the federal government, Committee concerns reflected those of the residents regarding health and safety matters.

In today’s meeting, the proponent representative, Jeff McKay, advised that Council is “not authorized” regarding decision making, other than commenting on the process. He said the only voice is that of the Federal law.

He suggested that the public was “coached” regarding taking concerns to Council. He said, “Council flooding is not an uncommon strategy… Transparency is completely lost.” He added that the process lacked jurisdiction with “Council stepping in without authority,” which causes material impacts to the facility.

“The parallel process stream needs to stop,” continued McKay. He said the public comment threads were closed on April 9th.

According to McKay, the affect to residents is minor, with only a visual impact, rather than being a policy issue.

“All items were appropriately addressed,” said McKay. He indicated that the only issues to be addressed now are whether the proponent fulfilled their duties regarding the public consultation, and the matter is in legislative hands now.

He suggested that Council “read down and return to Council with a proper motion for concurrence.”

Council concurred that this is now an issue requiring legal consultation, given the 33-page correspondence they received from the proponent on June 7th.

Councillor, Archie Buie, indicated, “It was legalistic in its nature and talking down in its nature, and basically that we don’t know what we’re doing…very forceful wording.”

Councillor, Barb McMurray, expressed concern because she felt that Committee were “doing the right thing with the nonconcurrence last week.”

She also expressed concern about “allowing Rogers to rule our decisions.” She added, “It put a bad taste in my mouth that we shouldn’t be speaking on the issue, and we should be compliant to Rogers.”

She continued that the correspondence “has a bad tone.” “it’s very hard to stuff it down and keep it there,” regarding being told they aren’t allowed “as a Council to ask questions or have an opinion. We should be able to speak on behalf of the community.”

McMurray also indicated that according to the correspondence there could be a sixth location for another tower in the works.

She said, “They’re not looking out for the people,” which should be investigated.

Councillor, Debbie Vernon, concurred that the corporation isn’t considering resident needs. She referred to the 196 residents who signed a petition about the tower, along with one who called her today explaining that she moved to the area because she has a physical sensitivity to radiation.

She reiterated, “We’re here for the people and not necessarily for the corporations.”

Council and staff discussed that they’ve dealt with about 5 other towers in the recent years with no issues.

Director of Planning and Development, Cheryl Kelley, advised that the Town hasn’t changed how they’ve conducted these types of matters, nor have they been told their “resolutions are not written correctly.”

She added that the Town has policies in place that were followed last week in both the staff recommendation and Committee decision.

Staff will review the correspondence with the Planning and Development department, consult further with the applicant, seek the advice of Legal Counsel, and report back to Council in the next meeting.