Rideau Lakes council approves proposed Bell tower at The Opinicon

·2 min read

A cellphone tower proposal by Bell Mobility has been approved by Rideau Lakes council to be located on the grounds of The Opinicon resort at 1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd. in Elgin.

“This is going to be a great benefit to The Opinicon (Resort) and to the village itself,” said Rideau Lakes Mayor Arie Hoogenboom. “We are all in a cellphone desert here."

“Bell Mobility is committed to improving wireless network coverage and capacity for residents of Rideau Lakes and area,” according to Canacre Ltd. planner Maria Wood, speaking on behalf of Bell Mobility.

Wood presented to council the “Meso tower” design for the 22 metre tall tower: structures that are designed to be esthetically pleasing, resembling a lamppost. “(It will) provide service to most residents while minimizing visual impact to the community,” Wood said.

“I think this tower’s going to fit right in with the environment,” commented Coun. Jeff Banks.

Coun. Marcia Maxwell said she likes the design of the tower, as it is shorter than other towers. “(People) want cell service, but they don’t want towers blinking all over the place,” Maxwell added.

The proposal did not receive any objections from the community regarding its location. A total of 11 residents responded throughout the consultation process with statements of support or questions regarding the tower and the level of services expected at their property.

“Although most tower proposals receive some level of opposition, we are pleased to advise council and staff that no objections were brought forward to the tower location,” Wood said. “This is further evidence that it is the right site."

When asked whether the tower will provide access to other cellphone companies or not, Wood was unsure, as the shorter towers will be limited with the amount of infrastructure they can put on it.

The mayor inquired about the tower’s coverage area and Wood replied that the range will be 2.5 km from the site.

As for future plans, Wood revealed that Bell is analyzing the area and will be looking and seeing if there are other places they can provide towers and increase service.

“We know (the area) is underserved,” Wood said.

Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News