Original Letter - SLCO Letter of Objection to Proposed Bell Tower W7716 - Jan 20 Final.pdf
January 20th, 2021.
To: Matthew Milligan, Senior Advisor, Real Estate and Government Relations, Bell Mobility.
CC: Mr. Adam Fulford / Ms. Maria Wood, Canacre Ltd. (Agents for Bell Canada)
Robert Malcolmson, Chief Regulatory Officer, BCE Inc.
David Pink, Director of Planning, Township of Muskoka Lakes
Susan Mazan, Ward B Councilor, Township of Muskoka Lakes
Gordon Roberts, Ward B Councilor, Township of Muskoka Lakes
Phil Harding, Mayor, Township of Muskoka Lakes
RE: Letter of Objection to Proposed Bell Tower ‘W7716, Skeleton Lake North’ at 4300 Aspdin Rd., Township of Muskoka Lakes
Thank you for extending the Public Consultation period and for meeting with our executives to discuss this proposal in some depth.
As conveyed to Canacre and yourself, the Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization (SLCO) represents the interests of a majority of approximately 500 cottagers and other residents of Skeleton Lake watershed.
While the SLCO appreciates that Bell Mobility is proposing to improve local mobile cellular LTE voice & data service and fixed wireless broadband service through their proposed tower, the SLCO OPPOSES the 61m free-standing, steel-lattice tower W7716 to be erected at 4300 Aspdin Road because of the significant negative impact to the scenic views on the northwest shore of Skeleton Lake.
The SLCO has a mandate, supported by the majority of its members and other residents around the Lake, to preserve the physical features and values of Skeleton Lake for generations to come. Landscapes and scenic views are paramount among those values as defined in our Lake Plan and Stewardship Program. A 61m, free-standing, steel-lattice tower within such close proximity to the shores of Skeleton Lake, sitting atop a 60m precipice, would forever be an eyesore and diminish the enjoyment of the Lake’s residents.
The Township of Muskoka Lakes has recently passed a motion adopting Skeleton Lake’s ‘Lake Plan and Stewardship Program’ into the Township’s Official Plan, recognizing the community’s desire and authority to protect, among other features, its scenic views.
The Township of Muskoka Lakes in their “Interim Policy Communication Tower” also calls for “siting of new communication towers shall consider the … retention of prominent views and vistas”.
As well, our members have indicated their preference and need for fixed wireless broadband services as an alternative to expensive mobile cellular data access to the internet, a service already available to most of them. We note, and as you confirmed, the coverage maps provided by Canacre depict mobile cellular LTE voice & data coverage and NOT fixed wireless broadband coverage.
Based upon an analysis that SLCO has performed using advanced radio coverage modelling software, we believe that our members can still achieve vastly improved fixed wireless broadband service with a shorter 30m “monopine” tower erected on the same high precipice at 4300 Aspdin Rd. In the event that a 30m tower is not sufficient to achieve the desired cellular coverage then perhaps two strategically placed 30m towers along the north shore and Aspdin Rd. could provide the desired improved mobile cellular coverage as well as fixed wireless broadband without significantly diminishing scenic views.
We also note that the construction of this tower is not scheduled until the “building season” of 2022 meaning that improved mobile cellular LTE voice & data service and fixed wireless broadband service is not expected until late in 2022. Our members would benefit from having improved fixed wireless broadband services now, especially during this pandemic. This proposal does not meet the immediate needs of the community, yet we are aware that other fixed wireless broadband service operators will, in all likelihood, be able to satisfy much of that demand in the current year.
We stand resolute in our commitment to vigorously oppose this 61m tower at 4300 Aspdin Road, including at the municipal level.
It is because of the significant negative impact to the scenic views of the north shore of Skeleton Lake that the SLCO stands opposed to the current proposal for a 61m tower at 4300 Aspdin Road. The SLCO is willing to work with Bell to develop a mutually agreeable plan which could involve a 30m “monopine” style tower in the same location or two strategically placed 30m towers if that is required. This type of tower is similar to those that you’ve indicated Bell Mobility is installing in many areas of Muskoka and that Bell is required to use in other scenic areas of Ontario, such as Algonquin Park. This style and size of tower is more environmentally and aesthetically compatible with the Skeleton Lake community’s desire to protect and preserve the natural character of the Lake and its scenic vistas.
On behalf of the SLCO Board of Directors,
Skeleton Lake Cottagers Organization