Vantreight Farms and Muir Communications are one step closer to being allowed to erect a 50m tower on farm land in Central Saanich.
During a planning and development committee meeting on Nov. 13 council moved to direct staff to prepare a land use bylaw amendment bylaw to rezone the property — owned by Vantreight Farms — where the tower is proposed to be built. The change would see the property re-zoned to a public utility zone (P-3) from agricultural, to permit the 50m tower height.
“I’m supportive of this motion,” said Coun. Carl Jensen during the meeting. “It allows local farmers to diversify their revenue stream.”
Opposition from the gallery during the meeting was evident, with members of the public citing concerns over the tower height and its visibility to surrounding residential areas. Most concerns raised from the gallery rested on the possible health implications of electromagnetic radiation that would come from having telecommunication devices in the municipality. However, there were also 14 letters received by staff before the meeting that were in direct support of the tower being erected.
The application from Muir Communications proposes a 50m (164 foot) tower to be built within a 30m by 30m (98 foot square) compound for the installation of various telecommunication companies’ equipment. Vantreight noted during the meeting that their farmland has already housed telecommunications antennas on existing buildings for over 20 years.
“Now we’re just waiting for Central Saanich staff to follow the direction of council and go through the readings and public hearings,” he said, adding that he and Muir Communications plan to proceed with building with tower as soon as possible should everything before council be approved.