Plans For New Cell Tower Raise Safety Concerns

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Thornhill residents want answers from cellphone provider

Local councillors and residents’ groups are questioning the safety and location of cellphone towers in the Bayview Glen area following a proposal from Bell Mobility to erect another tower near Green Lane and Guardsman Road.

“I hope it doesn’t end up going up,” said Howard Shore, Ward 2 councillor. “The one on Bayview Avenue went up without any consultation with the community. These towers are monstrosities.”
Shore said the cell tower, currently on the northeast corner of Bayview Avenue near Laureleaf Road, is just under the maximum height limitations, and that Town of Markham staff were previously unaware of Bell Mobility’s plans to erect a new one.

Ultimately, the cellphone towers’ size is regulated by a federal agency, Industry Canada, while Health Canada determines their proximity to residential communities. “We’ve been told by the government that there are no health concerns,” said Toinette Bezant, a spokesperson from the Bayview Glen Residents’ Association. “But the World Health Organization classifies radio frequencies as carcinogenic. They say it’s possible, but unlikely, so it’s still a bit of a grey area.” Bezant named nearby schools and soccer fields as her main concern, and wants Bell Mobility to consult with the community before the new towers are erected.

Coun. Shore approached Bell Mobility with an alternative solution, citing a tower at a nearby church, and suggested installing antennas above a condominium tower. “The provider claims they need a certain height,” Shore said. “You don’t need the whole rocket ship, you just need the antenna,” he also said. “If there’s zero health issues and zero concerns, then why do they resist the alternative?” Shore added that after he approached Industry Canada, he was told that “reasonable and relevant concerns exclude health-related issues.”A Bell Mobility spokesperson said they comply with regulations from Industry Canada.

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