With two formal applications submitted for new cell towers in Collingwood, council is being asked to support the one staff say is the more subtle of the two.
Council’s development and operations standing committee supported staff’s pick during a meeting on June 15 by supporting the application by Shared Tower Corp for a 45-metre monopole tower at 25 Sandford Fleming Drive.
A second tower was proposed by Signum Wireless for 2880 Sixth Line with a 40 metre tall, tripole design.
The towers have to be approved by Industry, Science, and Economic Development Canada, but part of the process involves getting the town to approve a concurrence for the tower.
Staff recommended supporting the tower proposed for Sandford Fleming Drive, but indicating ‘non-concurrance’ for the tower proposed on Sixth Line.
“Staff … prefer the location, design and justification proposed for the Sandford Fleming tower, finding it to be the more sensitive proposal,” stated community planner Justin Teakle.
In 2019, the town received informal notice of three tower proposals within 500 metres of each other. According to a staff report, the town pushed the proponents to minimize the number of new towers, demonstrate the coverage improvement from a proposed tower, and use a monopole design.
A monopole looks more like an oversized flagpole, and a tri-pole design is three main poles with crisscrossing supports between them.
Since formal applications were submitted to the town in 2020, there was a public meeting for each proposal.
The Sandford Fleming Drive tower public meeting took place virtually on Nov. 24, 2020, but no comments were submitted and nobody from the public attended the meeting.
The Sixth Line meeting took place on March 16, 2021, with one person attending and speaking in support of the tower.
According to the staff report, a new tower in the area of both proposals would fill a coverage gap by providing high-strength coverage in a one-kilometre radius from the tower.
Ultimately the decision for tower approval rests with Industry, Science, and Economic Development Canada.
Mayor Brian Saunderson asked Teakle how much pull the town has with its decision of concurrence and non-concurrence for the tower proposals.
“My understanding is they do strongly rely on concurrences from municipalities,” said Teakle.
The committee vote will have to be ratified by council at a future meeting before it is passed on to the federal government.