Abigail Mickelthwate believes she has two very good reasons why MTS shouldn’t build a 20-metre cell tower in her River Heights neighbourhood.

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This article was published 25/5/2016 (1788 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Abigail Mickelthwate believes she has two very good reasons why MTS shouldn’t build a 20-metre cell tower in her River Heights neighbourhood.

One of those reasons is 12 years old. The other is eight.

Both are Mickelthwate’s sons.

"We’re saying put it somewhere where it’s more commercial," she said after raising the issue at a community town hall meeting held by South Centre MP Jim Carr at the Rady Centre Wednesday night.

"I’m not saying don’t get good cell service. But don’t put it where my boys sleep at night.

The proposed cell tower site at the corner of  Niagara Street and Grosvenor Avenue is currently home to an MTS switching station that looks like a residential property.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The proposed cell tower site at the corner of Niagara Street and Grosvenor Avenue is currently home to an MTS switching station that looks like a residential property.

"Maybe it’s fine, but I’m upset that I have to worry about it. We all feel a bit helpless and caught."

Earlier this year, 19 River Heights homeowners were notified MTS planned to erect the cell tower on a property in the residential neighbourhood near Grosvenor Avenue and Niagara Street already occupied by a relay station.

Mickelthwate said the tower will be three times the height of the nearest building, extending above the treeline, and will be less than five metres away from the nearest home.

"They could find somewhere else," Mickelthwate said. "They (MTS) are saying this is an easy place to put it because we own the building. It’s an easier fix."

The residents plan to protest against the proposal at an MTS open house on June 1 (6 p.m.) at the Corydon Community Centre (River Heights location) and present a petition of area homeowners opposed to the cell tower.

Company spokesman Jeremy Sawatzky said in an email MTS "is committed to open and transparent communications with our customers. With the usage and popularity of wireless devices continuing to grow, our customers increasingly expect strong indoor and outdoor cellular coverage. That means, from time to time, we need to upgrade our services."

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Local River Heights resident Abigail Mickelthwate voices her concerns about a proposed cell phone tower in her area during a town hall meeting with The Hon. Jim Carr, MP for Winnipeg South Centre and minister of Natural Resources at the Radi Centre Wednesday night.</p>

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Local River Heights resident Abigail Mickelthwate voices her concerns about a proposed cell phone tower in her area during a town hall meeting with The Hon. Jim Carr, MP for Winnipeg South Centre and minister of Natural Resources at the Radi Centre Wednesday night.

Along with holding the open house, Sawatzky said the company notified "all property owners, the local Land Use Authority, the Winnipeg Airports Authority, Industry Canada, local community associations and all local government representatives about this proposal and will continue to consult with them as we move forward."

However, Mickelthwate said only the 19 homeowners in the immediate area were notified, not the entire neighbourhood.

Another homeowner, who did not want to give her name, said apart from health concerns there is the matter of jurisdiction.

Cell-tower placements fall under federal regulations.

"The frustrating thing is... fundamentally, how come a telecommunications company can put up a 60-foot tower on residential property when the city doesn’t allow us to build fences higher than 61/2 feet?" she asked.

"It doesn’t allow us to put air conditioners within 15 feet of the neighbour’s open window, but a company can walk in and say, ‘Here’s where we’re going to put it,’ and it seems the city can’t say no.

"It’s a question of who’s in charge when you’re purchasing in a residential area. You wouldn’t expect that your neighbours, including our MTS neighbour, could put up what they want, as big as they want, where they want."

Carr promised to look into the matter, noting he was born on Niagara Street. "If it matters to you, it matters to me," he said.

randy.turner@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @randyturner15

Randy Turner

Randy Turner
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Randy Turner spent much of his journalistic career on the road. A lot of roads. Dirt roads, snow-packed roads, U.S. interstates and foreign highways. In other words, he got a lot of kilometres on the odometer, if you know what we mean.

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