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Concerns Raised Over Planned Capitol Regional District Emergency Services Radio Tower (CREST)

    Editorial & Opinions    April 25, 2019

A 144-foot Capitol Regional District Emergency Services Radio Tower (CREST) is slated to be installed beside the Legion on Blain Road in Ganges within close proximity to our seniors’ residences, midwifery clinic, Salt Spring Daycare, Kings Lane Medical Clinic and Lady Minto Hospital. Scientific consensus tells us the modulated low frequency microwaves it will emit penetrate deeply and completely, causing biological harm. At 9:00am on Tuesday, April 30, a group of concerned Salt Spring residents will be rallying outside the Harbour House Hotel to insure the Islands Trust votes to send a letter of non-concurrence for this project to CREST.

Why we are opposed to the Proposed Location for this Radio Antenna:

Low Frequency, Big Impact. The modulated frequency microwaves this tower will emit, which are in the 132–174 MHz range, pose a greater concern than 5G’s millimeter waves. All standards-setting organizations have the strictest limitations between 30–300 MHz, as they penetrate the body deeply and whole-body resonance can occur. Studies within a 2009 review by the International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) found a change in the formation and arrangement of cells at 100MHz exposure. Polar molecules such as water and other cellular components translated and rotated in response to electrical fields. “Cells would rearrange and form chains along the direction of the field.”

Aesthetic Blight – Light & Noise Pollution. CREST chose the Legion site because it is one of the highest available points in Ganges. The higher the antenna is placed, the further the radio can transmit and receive. The proposed tower will be 144 feet tall with LED lights on the top and in its middle as required by Navigation Canada, and it will have noisy cooling fans running 24-7.

Property Values decline near radio-frequency tower sites.

If you build it, they will come. If this tower is built, federal policy permits the Legion to enter into co-location agreements with telecoms without further consultation with the Islands Trust or the public, allowing them to place 4G and 5G transmitters on this same site. While additional lease agreements may earn the Legion another $12,000 to $30,000 a year per transmitter, they also increase the public’s exposure to radio-frequency radiation.

The gap in emergency service coverage CREST claims this project is filling is the Ganges Marina and Ganges Harbour area, but the modulated low frequency waves this system will employ can travel for 40 or more miles. This is a very big tower and its proposed location will greatly impact our island’s most vulnerable – children, the elderly, the ill, and the newborn, all for the professed need to improve coverage in a very small area. Island Trust’s policy calls for taking a precautionary approach to electromagnetic radiation exposure. This study shows the effects of microwave radiation on pollinators.

Does this Project have the Public Interest at Heart? Karl Reardon, the Engineer the CRD hired to do the project’s Safety Exposure test is not an “independent consultant” as required by the Salt Spring Islands Trust’s electromagnetic radiation exposure policy. The company he works for, Planetworks, is heavily vested in promoting and advocating for wireless communication systems and Karl Reardon who formerly worked as General Manager and Product Developer for Motorola holds six US patents on wireless data technologies.

Housing First! The project has been opposed by the Gulf Islands Seniors Residence Association, as their much-needed 48-unit senior’s affordable housing complex, Meadowlane, would be about 20-40 metres from the tower.

First People’s Input Required. The land adjacent to the site is on a former Cowichan Village site. The proposed tower location may also be a part of this same Cowichan Village site. If so, the Cowichan Tribe must be consulted about an archaeological review.

Our Emergency Services must be safe, data secure, and reliable. Connecting our stationary base stations for emergency services directly to a community-owned wired fiber network will limit the possibility of cyber-attack and protect the well-being of our providers. We must place transmitters for mobile use in appropriate places, away from our most vulnerable, be certain upgrades are actually required, and choose the least intrusive and best systems. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found major security flaws in the digital P25 systems CREST is installing. Not only did they overhear sensitive conversations, they effectively jammed signals using a child’s electronic toy. Our current digital emergency communication systems may be adequate. If significant new infrastructure is needed, peer-reviewed science recommends we take a precautionary approach, and that it not be placed within 400 metres of where people live, play, work, and heal.

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