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Cell tower near you?

A public information meeting on a proposed Telus tower is slated to take place in Naramata this week.

RDOS Naramata director Karla Kozakevich said the meeting was set up because both she and residents who live in the area where the tower is proposed for have concerns.

"Based on the feedback I've had, there is only one person in favour of the location and that person doesn't live there," she said. 

Part of the concern is based on the fact, the proposal for the 40 metre tower, next to the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, took many residents by surprise.

Some families only received information in late June, and others did not receive any notification at all.

Also worrying is that it would be visible from the recently upgraded trail, said Kozakevich.

"I went up on the KVR myself to see where the markers are supposed to go, and the tower is supposed to extend up above the trees," she said. "So it does seem like it would become a focal point from areas of the KVR and also devalue properties for people who live below it."

In addition to holding the meeting, the public comment deadline on the matter has been extended to July 17.

A website, www.whatabadidea.com, also provides detailed information on the tower.

Resident Denys Bouton said it was created because there was the feeling a lot of incorrect information was going out from the Telus land agent.

"I put the website together with resident Pete Ehlers, simply to inform people," he said. "I don't think people understand it is 40 metres high, with equals 131 feet high, and that is the height of a 13 to 14 storey apartment building."

In an earlier statement released by Telus, they said Telus is planning to invest at least a half million dollars to build a new wireless site to ensure local residents continue to have the high quality wireless service they depend on.

They further stated a lot of thought has been put into the location of the infrastructure to ensure it provides the maximum amount of coverage where it's needed, while also blending in with the landscape.

During the meeting, they will discuss most of the common comments/questions received from residents. As an example, one of the common questions raised was whether or not the pole would have a light at the top and be painted for aircraft safety. Transport Canada has reviewed the proposal, and it doesn't require either.

The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 10 at the OAP Hall in Naramata.

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