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Penticton  

Telus tower tensions

There was a big turnout Thursday for a public consultation meeting on a proposed Telus monopole tower in Naramata. 

While some have mixed feelings on the matter, the majority don't want the 40 metre tower to go in at the current location near the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.

"It's going to be a huge eyesore, because the proposed location is near the first bench, north of the Smethurst parking lot," said resident Cecily May. "It's right where everyone stops and looks at the view."

Residents in attendance were invited to look at information boards showing the site being considered for 1415 Smethurst Road, a profile of the tower, why this location was selected and why the tower is needed.

Telus representatives were on hand to answer questions and there was a place where attendees could drop off comments.

Telus has stated the purpose of the tower is to expand Telus wireless coverage in the Naramata area. Currently, there are no existing antenna support structures or other feasible infrastructure that can be utilized; as a result, a new antenna support structure is required.

The matter has so concerned residents that a website, www.whatabadidea.com, has been created.

Not only do they say they don't want it by the recently upgraded KVR trail, they also say they were not given adequate notification.

"I'm not against change, but this seems to have popped up out of nowhere," said May.

RDOS Naramata director Karla Kozakevich said from all she has heard, there is strong opposition to the proposal.

"From the feedback I've received, 99 percent are against this," she said. "People do feel better service is needed, it's the location."

Kozakevich said a meeting was planned for this morning, Friday, with Telus representatives, herself and Donna Butler, director of development services for the RDOS.

Telus will then need to compile the feedback and present it to the RDOS board, she said.

Telus communications manager Liz Sauve said the consultation phase will run through July 17, and that they are still in the early stages of this matter.

"Oftentimes our consultation phase results in a better proposal," she said. "That's why for this site, we extended the notification area to residents by doubling the number of properties that need to be notified under Industry Canada regulations. We're really open to hearing from the community and then working together to provide the enhanced wireless service they're asking for."

People can contact Telus at: [email protected]  

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