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Proposed SaskTel cell tower facing local pushback

The newRegina Cityproposal to transfer land adjacent to the nature reserve to SaskTel faces backlash from locals.

Regina's Waskanaview district is behind the McKelwascana Conservation Park, a large nature reserve with its original prairie landscape.

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A recent city proposal was to transfer land to SaskTel as a reserve for the new 5G cell tower.

This proposal raises concerns about potential land damage to protected areas across four neighboring communities. 172 residents united to sign a petition requesting the cancellation of the proposal and submit it to the city.

"Because it is a natural shelter, placing a tower here completely defeats its purpose," said Jack Huntington, president of the Waskana Point Estate Condominium Association. "Protecting this particular shelter and wetland habitat is important not only for ourselves, but for future generations."

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Huntington states that the park is widely loved by the inhabitants and the repulsion is justified.

"It's used every day, whether you're biking or walking on the trail. I have a lot of families with kids and pets and I enjoy the surroundings. If you compromise, There is very strong opposition. "

Huntington says that when the proposal was first made, residents held a general meeting to finalize the petition. He says a group of about 12 residents visited door-to-door to seek feedback on suggestions and the need to protect the reserve.

"It was overwhelming in terms of support. All the doors and people we knocked answered, they signed the petition. They tried to protect us here. He fully supported what he was doing. "

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The proposed location is adjacent to a protected park and is now zoned as a waterway. The city sets restrictions on new construction in the area. But the city says the cell tower is an exception.

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"Cell Tower is everything Permitted use at the location is considered permitted use as it is within the zoning bylaws, "said Shauna Bzdel, Head of Land, Real Estate and Facilities.

Huntington says he feels the exception is unfair.

"The Zoning Bylaws are enacted for a very specific purpose," Huntington said. "I was very disappointed with this process, and I was also very disappointed that SaskTel and the city had a great deal of difficulty working on what we believe is a meaningful process all around.

Residents are also worried about potential health risks and their impact on asset value.

"Many of these people bought real estate with the idea that they could see a natural park and see that view destroyed. These people also bought the property in the city. Pays some of the highest property taxes in, but it doesn't seem to be recognized. "

However, the city says that the location chosen is the least affected location in the area. I'm saying.

"Administrators have worked with SaskTel to find the least affected locations," Bzdel said. "Currently there are sub-depots for sewage pumping stations and parks, so there are other utility uses within that site."

When SaskTel inquired about the purchase of land, Regina's executive committee said. Requested the completion of public consultation, including addressing residents' concerns.

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In a statement to Global News, SaskTel explained the importance of the new cell tower.

"As part of the public consultation process, SaskTel will respond to relevant feedback received regarding the proposed tower," the company said in an email statement. "SaskTel is aware that there may be different opinions about the construction of new cell towers in general, but to ensure that wireless networks have the capacity and coverage they need to continue to serve their customers. , It is important to understand that a new cell tower is needed. Community. "

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Cell providers are currently in public consultation, Huntington said the process was almost one-sided say. Residents have provided feedback by the June 6 deadline, but SaskTel and his consultant Scott Land&Lease have not yet responded, he says.

"My understanding from talking to Scotland&Reese, they provided a response and there will be some dialogue, but I haven't been in touch until today "Huntington said.

Ideally, Huntington wants resident pushbacks to encourage positive action from SaskTel.

"I want them to rethink their position, move the cell tower to a more appropriate location that does not affect the protected park, and address the health and asset value needs of the inhabitants. There are many ... vast lands behind me, especially in the south and west that do not invade protected areas and meet their needs. "

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