The Qualicum Bay area will soon have more reliable cell phone coverage with the construction of a new Telus tower.
The Regional District of Nanaimo’s electoral area services committee carried a motion to support construction of the tower at 210 Cochrane Road at its June 7 meeting.
“Currently there is very non-dependable service in the Qualicum Bay area as well as the surrounding areas, including along the highway,” said Brian Gregg, Telus land use consultant. “So it’s a public safety issue as well as an issue of convenience.”
He said coverage will be reliable throughout most of the area once the tower is complete.
Most residents were in favour of the project, according to Gregg. Others suggested moving the tower back on the property to have it farther from the surrounding residential area.
“It’s not the only spot on the site that could have worked, but it did make practical sense for a variety of reason,” Gregg said. To move it would have required Telus to restart the public consultation process and would push back service another year, he said.
The tower will be 63 metres tall and has about a 70 metre setback from residential areas, which are separated from the site by a railroad track.
“We also think the location will have very minimal, if any, view impacts because basically we are on the fringe of the residential areas of the community,” Gregg said.
Director Vanessa Craig questioned the process Telus took to consult with local First Nations. Gregg said they were notified by mail and phone calls and input was welcomed.
“We decided to call them, email them, mail them multiple packages and then encourage them to distribute them as they saw fit within their community,” he said.
He said this was the best consultation the company could do, “short of us going onto a reserve in the middle of a pandemic and knocking on everyone’s door.”