Bell Mobility has proposed to put a second telecommunications tower up in Stephenville, which will be about the same height but a different style than this one on Main Street. — Star photo by Frank Gale
Fred Pottle has issues with a new telecommunications tower proposed to go up at 36 Missouri Dr. in Stephenville, but it’s possible the resident’s concerns could be a bit late.
That’s because the town’s council has already given approval to Bell Mobility for the location of the tower.
According to a community notification released by Bell Mobility, the antenna is needed to send and receive signals for the radio station, and the tower raises the antenna above obstructions such as trees and buildings. In this case, Bell has determined the need for a new antenna in the area to adequately provide continuous coverage and service to their existing and future customer base in the Stephenville area.
Bell says its network is burdened by a combination of poor voice and data in the area at certain times of the day, resulting in ongoing complaints by customers of high rates of dropped calls. In some extreme circumstances, the potential inability to place a mobile call may be critical in an emergency situation, the company said.
While he supports Bell Mobility improving its services, Pottle expected that Bell Mobility would have taken the aesthetics such a structure would have on the surrounding area into account.
“Such a tower would not be conducive to our skyline as the proposed location lies within the centre of professional buildings,” Pottle said in a letter of objection on the tower.
“This I do not believe is in the best interest to the citizens of Stephenville or visitors.”
He said Bell Mobility could achieve the improved service by locating the tower within any line of sight of the service area. Alternatively, he said, the tower may be able to be situated at the top of a high-rise building, such as College of the North Atlantic.
Stephenville Mayor Tom O’Brien said it was back in November 2013 when council gave approval in principle to Bell Mobility to locate this tower at 36 Missouri Dr., between Harmon Auto at 50 Missouri Dr. and the building used by Services Canada at 133 Carolina Ave.
The mayor said Bell Mobility came to council with seven different site proposals, and the one on Missouri Drive was deemed by council to be less obtrusive.
O’Brien said council issued the permit in principle to Bell Mobility to give it the opportunity to purchase the property to put up the round tower.
Pottle said many municipalities have discouraged telecommunications companies from constructing towers in their skyline and these companies have met these challenges by coming up with alternative solutions.
Given that this service area is fairly level and is surrounded by hills and mountains, he would expect Bell Mobility would have chosen a location outside the town centre.
“We do not have to look very far to see evidence of a tower which was erected in the past which now lies at the center of our community as an eyesore,” Pottle said.
He sees no reason this tower could not be put in a less conspicuous location and asked for a review of the long-term impact of the tower. Comments on the proposal must be received by mail, email or fax by close of business on June 3. Pottle forwarded his comments earlier this week.