Council okays new wireless tower

Despite complaints from neighbours, Puslinch council has accepted 7094 Gore Road as a suitable location for a new wireless internet tower.

Xplornet Communications Inc. proposed the 150-foot tower in an attempt to cover one of the areas identified by Wellington County officials as needing high speed, wireless internet service.

“It’s the best site,” Xplornet’s development manager Nic Parker told Puslinch council last week.

He explained Xplornet officials identified nine possible sites for the free-standing tower and all but one were disqualified because they were either not in the right area, had no local connection available, interfered with other Industry Canada service providers, or were located in sparsely-populated areas.

Council has the right to refuse the chosen site at 7094 Gore Road, Parker said, but the township could be overruled by Industry Canada.

Gore Road resident June Ayrhart said that location would lower property values in the area and “compromise” the ability of neighbours to enjoy their properties.

She also questioned the logic of the site, telling council Gore Road is one of the lowest points in the township. Ayrhart also accused Xplornet of not fully exploring other options in the area.

“No one else was asked about their property,” she said of nearby residents.

Ayrhart added neighbours “continue to strongly oppose the proposed location” on Gore Road and instead suggested the Fletcher’s Creek area could host such a tower.

Yet councillor Wayne Stokley called the Fletcher  Creek ecological preserve a “highly sensitive area” not suitable for the tower. He also noted a possible decrease in property values is not seen by Industry Canada as a legitimate reason for opposition to such infrastructure.

Nor is the argument that the tower could disrupt a view, added councillor Susan Fielding.

Several councillors said they understand the concerns of residents, but there is likely no location that would suit every Puslinch property owner. Councillor Jerry Schmidt used the metaphor of chicken soup.

“Everybody wants some soup, but nobody wants to be the chicken,” he said.

Mayor Dennis Lever said the township is guided by Industry Canada regulations, but he did note Xplornet could have avoided some of the difficulty with neighbours through “better management of the consultation process.”

Council unanimously approved the tower location.