We have been seriously out of touch with you since our last email on November 19, 2015. Please accept our apologies… but so much has been happening that we just didn’t have the time to write.
The purpose of this email is to update you (as briefly as possible), to let you know that the battle is still ongoing, and to give you an idea of the strategies we are planning to ramp up the fight to stop the proliferation of cell towers in our beautiful countryside.
We do hope to be able to count on you once again to lend your voice when the time comes.
First, the update:
BOLTON PASS TOWER
Nov. 2, 2015: East Bolton Town Council adopts resolution to give construction permit to Bell for the Bolton Pass tower without going through the necessary zoning change (the foundations of which were already built in 2014).
Nov. 23, 2015: 68 residents (7.5% of the population) hold a peaceful demonstration in front of East Bolton Town Hall while Council was in a Special Meeting with their lawyer to discuss what to do (since they had broken their own laws by issuing a permit without a zoning change). These citizens, from age 2 to 75, braved minus 13 degree Celsius weather for 2 hours to show their support for the 5 families living less than 300 m from the tower site, and to encourage the Council to take a firm stand against the unwanted cell tower.
The gathering garnered excellent media coverage. To put it in perspective, if 7.5% of Montreal’s population showed up at a demonstration, that would mean 255,597 people. An excellent turnout, we thought!
Nov. 26, 2015: East Bolton Town Council revokes construction permit for the Bolton Pass tower, and adopts resolution to hold a referendum for the zoning change as requested by the citizens who signed the registry.
Feb 28, 2016: REFERENDUM re zoning change to allow the tower in Bolton Pass. Despite efforts by the Council to convince voters to vote for the zoning change (through a full page ad in the municipal bulletin and a letter mailed to eligible voters), all who voted, voted NO – except for one (it is presumed that the yes vote was from the son of the property owner leasing his land to Bell). Proof once again that there is no support for this tower in East Bolton.
As of today: The Municipality cannot issue a construction permit now. So either Bell ignores and flaunts our local laws and goes ahead, or goes away… We are watching the situation. So far all is quiet.
OUR GROUP IS CALLED UPON TO HELP OTHERS FIGHTING TOWERS
Dec 2015 – Jan 2016: A group of citizens in Austin opposing a tower proposed by Vidéotron asked for our help. We shared all of our documents, petitions, and experience, and gave a presentation at their Town Hall. They have the complete support of their Council who has since rejected Vidéotron’s advances. The citizens are now great allies of ours, in particular, Guy Bellemare, the former scientific director of Genome Quebec (now retired), who is very concerned about the health impacts of microwaves particularly on our ability to produce the important hormone melatonin, and on our blood brain barrier (studies show that microwaves cause our blood brain barrier which protects our brain from toxins, to become permeable – not a good thing!)
Jan-Feb 2016: A group of citizens in Ayer’s Cliff opposing a tower proposed by Vidéotron asked for our help. Again we shared all of our documents, petitions, and experience, and gave a presentation to a group of 100 citizens (with Guy Bellemare from Austin taking the stage with us). When we started, they had a Town Council that was completely pro-tower… who did not bother to attend our presentation. Now this same council has rejected Vidéotron’s advances. Vidéotron came back 7 more times with other proposed locations, all of which were rejected by Council. We have heard that the Feds (formerly Industry Canada) have paid them a visit. We do not yet know the outcome of this visit.
April 2016: A group of citizens in St-Etienne-de-Bolton are actively fighting a cell tower and have asked for our help. Vidéotron is trying to put up a 40 m tower in a green zone (It would be the third cell tower in this small town of 573 residents). The town is planning to vote for a zoning change on Tuesday, June 7. We hope to be able to help that group also.
MEMPHREMAGOG MAYORS JOIN FORCES TO ASK FEDS FOR ANSWERS
Feb 6, 2016: 16 out of the 17 mayors in the MRC of Memphremagog (exception being Louis Veillon, mayor of Potton) put their names to a letter which was sent to our Member of Parliament, Denis Paradis, requesting a moratorium on towers until the federal government states its policy regarding telecommunication services. Their issues are more around municipal jurisdictions, what is the overall plan, is cell service considered an essential service (according to the CRTC, it is not), etc.
Feb 19, 2016: Mayors Joan Eby (East Bolton) and Lisette Maillé (Austin) meet with Denis Paradis regarding the mayors’ request.
May 17, 2016: Paradis calls for a 6-month moratorium on towers in Brome-Missisquoi while the government clarifies its policy.
The best way to stop a tower is:
- Get all neighbours to agree not to lease their land to the telcoms;
- Get the support of your local council.
Municipalities DO have a say: many towers have been stopped by municipalities taking a stand together with their citizens. Out of the last 200 requests by a telcom company to override a municipality’s wishes, only 5 have been granted by the feds.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it
We need to keep informing our neighbours and our councillors about the impacts on our health, our landscapes, our wildlife, our property values …
The more we stand together on this issue, the stronger we become… and the less chances there are of a telecommunications company convincing one of our neighbours to lease his land.
One great way to help our neighbours to understand the impacts is to show movies.
We have bought 6 very good documentaries (some in English, some in French). If you would like to borrow a movie and show it to your neighbours (around a pot-luck supper, maybe?), email us at [email protected]. We will be happy to lend it to you.
- A coalition of citizens from several municipalities will be requesting a meeting with Mr. Paradis, to ask for his help. Citizens all over the Townships and Montérégie are approaching their MPs to call for a moratorium on cell towers until Safety Code 6 is replaced with a safety code that protects Canadians, as recommended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA) last June.
The HESA Committee, whose job is to oversee Health Canada, unanimously adopted the final report into their study of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (the obsolete guidelines that are supposed to protect us from microwaves but don’t).
The ten MP member panel, many of whom are physicians, heard from all sides of the issue including leading scientists and doctors from around the world, Health Canada, and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. After hearings spread over two months, they came up with 12 recommendations regarding electromagnetic radiation and health and presented them at the House of Commons on June 17.
The report says that:
“the vast majority of witnesses and briefs recommended lowering the RF exposure limits in Safety Code 6”.
It also said that:
“The Committee agrees that the potential risks of exposure to RF fields are a serious public health issue that needs to be brought to the attention of Canadians so that they have the knowledge to use wireless devices responsibly and are able to make decisions about the use of wireless devices in a manner that protects their health and the health of their families.”
Why we are so against cell towers is that they emit radiation 24 hours a day, every day. Residents (and wildlife) cannot turn them off.
Matthew Dubé, the MP for Beloeil-Chambly, wants to join forces with Mr. Paradis and other MPs to speak out on our behalf in Parliament.
Once our letter is finalized (very soon), we will send it to you. One way you can help is by getting as many organizations, businesses, and individuals in Brome-County Riding to sign this letter. This will show Mr. Paradis that his constituents really want him to go to bat for us.
If you live in a different riding, get your MP to join the others.
The telecommunications industry has been allowed free rein for too long.
If our government doesn’t act soon to legislate them, the Eastern Townships will be covered in towers.
If you don’t believe this, click on this link to see the latest Bell ad which clearly shows how they think.
Thank you for your participation, your encouragement, and your efforts in this fight.