Rogers Communications has proposed to install a 75 metre (246 feet) cell phone tower in this area of Spider Lake Road, within eyesight of residents backyards, like that of Patrick Watson. He has started a petition against the proposal. (Healey photo)

WAVERLEY: Looking out the back patio window at Patrick Watson’s home on Willowhill Ridge Road in Waverley, you’re greeted by a swath of trees that on an otherwise sunny day would present a taste of beauty of the area.

That view could soon change with a proposal from Rogers Communications to build a 75 metre (246 foot) cell phone tower within 240 metres of his home.

Watson said he believes having a cell tower will make more impossible to sell his house—one that has already been on the market for two years.

“Last week I had a viewing and they walked away because of the power line,” he said. “That’s probably way less significant than a cell tower would be, and it’s just going to scare away potential customers.”

At a public meeting held in Lower Sackville in October only six residents showed up—residents like Watson, John Oliver, and Steve Sinnott believe that the location, outside of the Waverley community, played a large role in the low turnout and that was because of HRM’s recommendation to hold the meeting there instead of more locally.

“It was a location that I was told that Rogers asked HRM planning where the best spot would be, and they said Sackville,” Oliver said. “There are other areas in Waverley that could have been used, but Rogers relied on HRM.”

Oliver said a residential location for the cell tower is the wrong spot; he said it’s better situated for a industrial location.

Watson said it will be 250 feet in a straight line from his balcony.

“It will be a huge eyesore. It’s ugly,” he said. “It’s blinking lights and will take away from my natural view.”

Sinnott said there are a lot of vacant land in the area that could be utilized for the cell tower infrastructure.

“They don’t need to be right on top of a residential neighbourhood,” said Sinnott. “They could go out 3-4,000 feet and put it in the middle of nowhere, there’s lots of opportunities like that out here. That’s what they should be looking at.”

Watson said he’s not opposed to the technology, but his big issue that he wants to get across to the decision makers at the federally regulated Industry Canada is why Rogers wants to build it so close to so many homes.

Oliver believes the tower should go in a more appropriate location.

Sinnott is hopeful Rogers will take to heart what the residents have to say.

“I hope at the end of the day Rogers Communications listens to the community,” he said. “There’s a lot of people opposed to this. Listen to our concerns and come up with other solutions. Don’t just say we’re going to put it in here. There’s lots of solutions.

“I believe we should have another meeting. It should be in the community and let people voice their concerns, and take those concerns back and reevaluate what their doing.”

He said they are working on arranging a meeting with MP Darrell Samson to bring him up to speed on the issue.

Meanwhile, Councillor Steve Streatch spoke of the concerns residents have in a Nov. 17 interview.

“We all have smart-phones. We all use data broadcast and we expect them to all work at all times,” said Streatch. “The complication is in order for that to happen the infrastructure has to be somewhere in proximity to allow for proper coverage by the signals.

He said he is of mixed opinion.

“I know there are people in the area that are concerned and I’m sure they will bring their concerns forward,” he said. “I also know many of those same people expect their electronic and communication devices to work and have options one company to the other. It is a give and take.

“I’m looking forward to hearing both sides as it relates to making a recommendation to forward to Industry Canada.”

Andrew Garas, manager of media relations with Rogers Communications, told Allister Aalders of the NSCC’s WTV Media, that “as part of the ongoing public consultation, we’re working with the community and the municipality to get their feedback and answer any questions.”