April 12th, 2024

Proposed cell tower focus of Raymond town discussion


By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 14, 2023.

A proposed new 5G Roger’s cell tower in the middle of Raymond has left community members divided.

Rogers has selected the 5G tower to be within the town of Raymond behind the local arena. Raymond mayor Jim Depew shared what Rogers has proposed for the tower and how this will be brought further to the community for discussion tonight.

“We’re one of the few communities that don’t have a 5G tower. They’re all over the place. And what’s being proposed by Rogers (is) this tower to come. We gave them a few different sites. And they liked the proposed site (by the) the skating rink, right by the swimming pool, which is about a half a block from the schools. And so now it goes to a public engagement,” said Depew.

The town is holding an open house to discuss it tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. at the local seniors centre. Depew said many community members have reached out to council expressing their concerns.

“We’ve received lots of emails, phone calls, I even had people coming to my door. As a mayor, I like to be out and about, and what I mean by that is I like to be where people can talk to me so I can engage in any conversation they want,” said Depew.

Depew described three common arguments being made by the community about the tower. He said one of the arguments is about health concerns with the proposed site being in the middle of the town.

“It’s like I said, it’s near a school and swimming pool. And they’re just saying, ‘why there, why not on the edge of town?’ Another argument is the exposure to wireless radio radiation from a 5G tower is not what we need in this town. And they’re citing things like illness” such as cancer, Depew said.

Another argument Depew mentioned was that some Raymond residents insisted they moved to Raymond because it doesn’t have a 5G tower.

“I think that’s an interesting fact that they’re sharing with us – that, that is why they chose the location. The third argument is we need a 5G tower – the tower right now is two miles away, and we have poor cell reception,” shared Depew.

Jonathan Smith is one of the Raymond residents voicing the need for a 5G tower. Smith has started an online petition for the 5G tower in which he states why he thinks the cell tower is needed.

“This strategic central location will provide enhanced connectivity and faster internet speeds to our community. As we move into an increasingly digital age, having access to reliable and fast wireless internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity,” voiced Smith in his petition.

Smith is not the only resident who has started a petition. Other concerned members of Raymond have a paper petition against the 5G tower.

Christine Bradley shared her concerns with the cell tower being put in the middle of town.

“Ultimately what’s happening here is that we have a battle going on between industry tech and the government on one side, and then people on the other side,” said Bradley.

Bradley said she has done much research on the effect cell towers have on people’s health and expressed some concerns.

“The reason this is important is this safety limit was only about heat, they only looked at thermal effects on the body. And what they did is they looked at skin for six minutes, and whether or not it increased in temperature to a certain point within six minutes.

“And if it didn’t, it was considered safe. That’s the problem. And for whatever reason, the governing bodies that are in charge of these regulations internationally, have literally done this to every single country,” said Bradley.

Bradley shared her own personal experience with the health effects she and her family dealt with living in Calgary near a cell tower.

“Ten per cent of the population have non-thermal effects. And the reason I’m aware of these non-thermal effects is because I have them.”

Depew said due to the conflict and health concerns Raymond council is being mindful of concerns.

“We’re trying to gather information. That’s why (we’re having) a public engagement. Trying to find out what their concerns are for. When it first was proposed to us, we were just concerned about the height, or where it was at, in the middle of town. We didn’t have any concern about health,” said Depew.

Bradley described what she found while researching about the health effects from the American Pediatric Association.

“The American Pediatric Association talks about those effects that children can have headaches, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, you know, all the way down to cancer.”

“There is a liability issue to this. In the United States, insurance companies have actually been told by tech companies that there’s liability issues with EMF symptoms, and they need to look out for it. And a lot of insurance companies will not even cover people for EMF pollution and effects. This is a huge problem,” added Bradley.

Depew shared a quote he heard from a third party that he says applies to this situation:

“Reasonable minds can differ. And it all depends on our perspective. So that’s exactly what this is about,” said Depew.

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