General News · 8th January 2023
Hello friends and community members,
I’ve made a few posts about the tower situation and realize that you might be tiring of the topic. That is OK. I can understand that. I also realize that there are sensitive cultural issues involved. Read on if it meets your needs to do so.
I’ve spoken with people who are feeling either resigned or despairing that anything can be done about the tower situation. There’s a part of me that feels these things too. So often the unrelenting push of technological development and the strong forces behind it create a hopeless, exhausting or overwhelming reality.
I’d like to share a perspective in response to that.
First of all, the letters written in the past proposals have worked. Letters were written to the first of the recent tower proposals and because that site (Telus compound on Rexford Rd.) was in the jurisdiction of the SRD, Telus was beholden to community feedback. Which is one of the frustrating elements of all this. They got a solid no and instead of listening to that, they just regrouped and marched forward. In my observation they purposefully selected indigenous land where they did not require community consent and could weaponize sensitive cultural dynamics, essentially pitting us against each other while they (Telus) come out on top. This is a tactic they have employed to great success all throughout the province.
Telus then chose to locate the tower 80m from Judy’s house. This time, after 140 petition signatures and 100+ letters were written voicing concerns about the new proposal, Telus was proceeding. Concerned community members got in touch with ISED (the oversight body that grants Telus’ final approval) and they responded by asking Telus to move the tower. So Telus agreed to move it roughly 100m further, still siting it 200m from Judy’s home. Their lobbyist Brian Gregg called Judy and said she should be ecstatic about that move. That is where we are at now.
I know that there are concerned citizens in the Tla’amin community who also do not support these towers. Indigenous sovereignty is important to me. It’s also important to me that corporations don’t present false information to influence people’s decisions. My hope is that the Tla’amin band council will be open to exploring the safety of these towers; I have reached out to them to request a dialogue to do that. Many studies report negative effects on birds, bees, children, people, etc. and my hope is that they are open to considering the information that displays that. I deeply respect and admire the strong values of care and respect for the elements, land, animals, and people that I have observed in local First Nations culture.
And this brings us back to the central issue for me, which is are these towers safe or not? If the science showed that they were safe then I would see no reason to reject the towers outright. There are still the social implications of cell phone culture and what it brings, but that would leave the choice in the hands of those who choose to use the technology.
I made a post showing that there is ample scientific literature showing the physical and social harms of these technologies. I observe Telus and their lobbyist, Brian Gregg, to be presenting a demonstrably false narrative of safety when they approach communities and land owners. I don’t judge the Tla’amin council for their decision to approve the tower. I am concerned about the information they have been given with which to make their decision. I am also concerned that large corporations have a proven track record of being disingenuous and deceitful in pursuit of profit and in this case have framed my tower concerns as unreasonable, irrelevant, and racist.
So if you feel like writing another letter is pointless, I understand and share your discouragement. I’m grateful for any support you have given and hope you don’t feel compelled to put any more effort in to this situation if it doesn’t serve your needs.
Also, I still believe that if enough of us who are concerned write a letter to Telus, it gives us a stronger leg to stand on when appealing to oversight bodies. There are movements happening in other communities where towers are proposed that are beginning to challenge the impunity with which companies like Telus have been able to act up to present.
We can be one of these communities.
We can say no.
Living in a small community puts us in a rare and advantageous position. Imagine trying to oppose something like this in Vancouver? That is why many of us live here and not there in the first place. The overwhelming majority of people that I talk to are not in favor of these towers. If all of those people wrote a short letter saying as much, we’d have a real chance of taking a different path.
If your desire is for more options in emergency situations there are other options to explore.
My vision is that this is all centered around a transparent and respectful dialogue with the Tla’amin band council, which at this point has been mediated solely by Telus and their lobbyist. My hope is that this kind of discussion could be effective in connecting and exploring different options for emergency services and community support for them, if that is what needs are being met by this tower.
If you feel inclined to write a letter to Telus the deadline for feedback is January 13th. A letter can be as basic as this:
Subject: Tower #109114 - Mansons Landing
“To Brian Gregg,
I do not support construction of tower #109114 - Mansons Landing, tower #109130 - Whaletown, or any other towers on Cortes Island.
Your name and address.”
Sent to these 3 email addresses:
Love to you, wherever you fall on this issue.
980 Siskin Lane