Tory MP takes shot at Bell for ignoring cell tower concerns

September 26, 2012

Terence Young
OTTAWA – A Tory MP took aim Wednesday at his former employer, who, he says, is ignoring his concerns about cellular towers located near homes in his Oakville, Ont., riding.

Terence Young, who worked for Bell Canada for more than a decade, says the multimedia company hasn’t replied to him since he raised concerns in the House of Commons in June about the company’s cell tower practices.

"When I was at Bell Canada in public affairs, they would never have ignored legitimate concerns of their own customers as they are in this case," Young said. "This is a totally different company, in my view."

Young thinks cell towers are located too close to residences in Oakville and wants them moved. He says one tower is just 11 metres away from a child’s bedroom.

"This is intolerable. There is no senior executive at Bell Canada that would tolerate any such thing at their home but they won’t even return the peoples’ calls," Young said.

Bell Canada maintains it is complying with federal guidelines.

"To meet local demand for enhanced wireless service, we simply added equipment to a pre-existing communications tower," a company spokesman told QMI Agency in June. "We consulted with Halton Regional Police, who operate the tower, and then secured approvals from Industry Canada."

But Young wants the government to update Safety Code 6, the framework for industry guidelines on radiation exposure in Canada.

"My constituents believe that Safety Code 6 is outdated, and there are a number of studies that have come out in the last year that they haven’t taken into consideration," he said.

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified electromagnetic radiation, including radiation from cell towers, as possibly carcinogenic, but the Canadian government hasn’t updated its guidelines.

Companies currently have to issue an advisory to municipalities if a tower is more than 15 metres high, but Trent University professor Magda Havas says shorter, and possibly more dangerous, towers are being put up without notice.

Regulatory guidelines can be skirted if companies erect towers just shy of 15 metres.

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