Hedley residents were left feeling a little helpless last week after Telus’ announcement that they were withdrawing their Hedley cellular tower application.
The move came suddenly, following a regional district board meeting in which a request was made to postpone approval of the application in order to give Hedley residents more of an opportunity for input on the issue.
Telus’ reason for withdrawing the application stemmed from the opposition encountered by Hedley residents and board members over their choice of site for the 20 metre tower, even after following the consultation proccess.
It’s unfortunate that Telus didn’t wait until after Hedley residents had an opportunity to discuss the issue one more time. It makes Telus’ decision look heavy handed, and appears to be sending a strong message to other municipalities and politicians who would dare oppose the company’s direction.
Prior to the decision to withdraw the application, there did not appear to be a solid understanding in Hedley of the reasons why Telus was opposed to considering relocation. Had all the residents been made aware of the company’s issues, there may have been a broader acceptance of the location, or at least, resignation that it was the best that the company could do.
It’s also not unreasonable to say that this RDOS board has an aversion to the dictates of utility companies when it comes to the location of such infrastructure as cell and hydro towers, based on the board’s recent experience with Fortis’ power line along the east side of Skaha Lake. A more conciliatory approach might have resulted in a decision which was more acceptable to all involved.
In the end, it’s an ironic outcome for a communications company.