MAPLETON – Though many telecommunications tower proposals receive some degree of pushback, there was none heard during a 30-day consultation period for a proposed 45-metre (148-foot) Xplornet tower on a private property along Wellington Road 12, south of 8th Line, near Spruce Green.
Evan Turunen, a planner with Toronto-based Canacre Ltd, presented a proposal package on behalf of Xplornet to Mapleton council on Aug. 10 showing what the tower would look like and addressing its impacts to the surrounding area.
The New Brunswick-based rural internet supplier is seeking approval to construct the self-supporting telecom tower in Mapleton to provide the township’s Spruce Green community with internet speeds of 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload, meeting the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s minimum speed targets.
Other site locations were explored, as required by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, but were rejected by the company’s radio frequency engineering team for not meeting network objectives.
The decided farm property, located at 7009 Wellington Road 12, was chosen because it meets radio frequency requirements, has an existing access road and would take minimal agricultural land out of production, according to a 16-page project package.
At the proposed location, the tower will be 190 metres away from the closest residential building and 100 metres away from the nearest road.
Councillor Paul Douglas, himself a civil engineer, asked if the tower would be shared with other service providers.
“As regulated by Industry Canada, Xplornet has to entertain any applications for other carriers to co-locate on the tower,” Turunen responded, adding other providers could apply to add their equipment on lower parts of the tower.
Douglas also asked about the duration of a land lease where the tower would be situated, but neither Turunen nor his colleague Maria Wood could say exactly how long the lease would be for.
Turunen said leases typically run for a decade. If a lease isn’t renewed, the tower would be decommissioned.
The project proposal package was received for information and council authorized clerk Larry Wheeler to sign a formal letter of concurrence in the absence of a requirement for a building permit and site plan, with telecommunications towers exclusively regulated at the federal level.
Township officials believe their role is completed regarding the tower, with decisions about its future construction now with the feds.
The document presented to council by Canacre and Xplornet stated, “Following concurrence, Xplornet will take the next step toward bringing these crucial high speed internet services to your community in 2021/2022,” but did not provide further detail.
The Advertiser reached out to Xplornet by phone and email to find out about next steps for the tower but was not provided any details.
“I can inform that the towers will definitely be providing speeds of 50/10 Mbps speeds and more with time as we deploy 5G services across our network in rural Ontario,” vice-president of government and public affairs Johanne Senécal stated in an emailed response.