An Enderby-area couple say they're not anti-5G conspiracy theorists – but they do have a problem with what they claim has been a lack of communication about a tower going up near their home.
Brent Huntington and his wife live at the end of Glenderry Road, above Gardom Lake.
Huntington says they received a notice in September "that looked like junk mail," and they didn't pay much attention to it.
The notice gave residents one month to give responses and, by the time they actually read it, Huntington initially thought "that doesn't look so bad, maybe we don't need to write a letter."
But, the couple feels one month was an "inadequate time frame" to fully learn about a project just 120 metres from their rural home.
"It's been very invasive. We moved up here to get away from power lines and things like that," they say.
Huntington called Telus' "lack of clear communication" frustrating and "violating."
"In actuality, the project is not what it was said to look like. It's right by our house and an eyesore," he said.
Huntington claimed Telus "is stepping on little people to get what it wants."
Several trees were cut down to bring a power line in to the site, and the Huntingtons have lost some of the privacy on their property.
While Telus responded it received only one letter against the project by the Oct. 4 deadline for submissions, Huntington says he has collected "close to 100 names" on a petition opposed to the tower.
"I'm not one of those 'stop 5G' people," says Huntington. "All I'm asking is that they move it farther from homes and and bury the power line to it."
He feels resident concerns were missed because the site is right on the boundary of the North Okanagan and Columbia Shuswap regional districts, and those across the line may not have been contacted.
Huntington says he hasn't heard "anything very encouraging" from Telus other than it is the company's right to build the tower.
He and a neighbour have parked vehicles at the end of their road, partially blocking access to the trailhead to a bush road where work has begun.
"A regular truck can get through, but we've effectively blocked semis from getting by," Huntington said.
Telus spokesperson Lena Chen said in an email the tower is being built "in response to increasing demand from local residents ... to improve cellular coverage for customers in Enderby.
"As part of the consultation process, we sent direct mail to all residents living within the area of the proposed location at the end of August last year, giving residents a 30-day period to submit questions and feedback, and placed notifications in the local newspaper."
The proposal was approved by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District in November.
"A reliable wireless signal is not only important for residents and local businesses to stay connected on a daily basis, but it also enhances safety throughout the community. For example, more than 70% of all calls to 911 come from a cellphone," says Chen.
Construction is underway, and the company anticipates work will wrap up later this year.
"Once complete, this tower will improve wireless and high-speed internet coverage throughout the community, making service more reliable and faster for all Telus customers."