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Editor,

The following is an open letter to Meaford's council.

There is an alternative to a cell tower in the harbour; in fact, there is a solution.

For the past few months, numerous proposals to build cell towers in Meaford's neighbourhoods have angered and upset residents. At present, a 91-foot tower is proposed for the harbour, around 40ft from where The Farmers Market is held in the Rotary Pavilion. Furthermore, the Meaford community has been made aware that 'there are more cell towers to come.'

The truth that cell carriers don't want us to know is that DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) can provide better coverage while hardly being noticed, and these small cell antennas would significantly reduce the EMR health issues. DAS Small Cell Technology consists of low-power, slender, two-foot antennas that are placed on existing telephone poles. These antennas are linked by fiber optic cables, or alternately Ethernet cables, that run along power lines. This would make the DAS system a real win for Meaford. 

Small Cell Technology is the future and is already commonly used. Small Cell Technology would put small 1 watt Pico or Micro Units on telephone poles. The low EMR Electromagnetic Radiation output device would provide a superior wireless network to deliver broadband-quality multimedia services to mobile phones, laptop computers and other mobile devices.

So, if DAS systems are so great, why aren't the cellular companies offering this option to the public? The reason is profit. Cell towers are cheaper than DAS systems. In addition, the company that builds a cell tower can rent part of it to other providers. Since cellular carriers answer to their shareholders, the profit motive is very strong. But, no matter what scare tactics or self-serving data cellular carriers might use, Meaford is not required to maximize the profits of these companies at the expense of residents, property values, public safety, future harbour development, and Meaford's desirability as a place to live and work.

But that being said, there has to be a way to make a business model work. Again, there is a solution. Council could direct Staff and CRINS to look into a joint effort to put in fiber optic communication "Small Cell Technology" in Meaford. The Municipality could recommend a cost share between Rogers, Bell Mobility, Sprint, and Telus Communications to run the fiber optics. Todd White of CRINS pointed this option out to me, and it is something to consider as an exceptional way forward for Meaford.

The fact that Todd White, Executive Director of CRINS, told Council that cell towers are a dangerous technology that spew Electromagnetic Radiation that adversely affects humans, especially children, should give anyone pause. The public is now informed and awake, and this knowledge cannot be unlearned. Jeff McKay of Rogers (in his own words) said that he may have "sterilized" Meaford, meaning that Meaford has become totally resistant to the placement of cell towers in their town.

If Council votes to put the cell tower in the harbour on municipal land, Council will be making the harbour into a type of dead zone. This act of site approval by Council will not go over well with the voters, and to make matters more complicated, it's an election year.

We have a twenty-first century solution: Small Cell Technology. Council needs to adopt this positive solution for our community. We need the political will of the Council to make this happen.

Sincerely yours,

Gough Lewis

Executive Director

Meaford Cell Tower Steering Committee


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