The Town of The Blue Mountains is updating its local policies for telecommunications facilities.

At its committee of the whole meeting on Oct. 17, The Blue Mountains council approved a number of updates to its cell tower policies and protocols.

The changes are being made to bring more clarity to the process, better define the roles of the various participants and improve efficiency.

Although telecommunications towers are the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government through Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), there are some requirements in place for proponents of new facilities to consult local governments and the public through locally developed policies.

The Blue Mountains has had policies in place for a number of years, the last time they were updated was 2011.

Carter Triana, a town planner, outlined the 11 changes/updates being made to the policy in a report presented at the meeting. Triana said the changes will bring the town’s policies in line with the Grey County Official Plan and that they would have “minimal impact on the public participation process.”

Policies changes/updates include:

  • Cleaning up the language in the policies to recognize the current name of the federal agency (ISED) responsible and to change “applicants” to “proponents.
  • Addition of language that outlines for the public ISED’s role in the process.
  • Include an overview of the consultation process.
  • Clearer distinction between recommended preliminary discussions and mandatory pre-consultation.
  • Clarifies the role of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
  • Additions to the required submission materials including a complete application form and pre-consultation comments-response matrix.
  • Clarity regarding roles of town and proponent for providing notice.
  • Reduction of notification distance. Currently, the town notifies local residents within 500 m of a proposed facility. The new policy reduces the distance to 300 m, or six times the structure’s height – whichever is greater. The current 500-metre distance is greater than what is required by ISED and that of other local municipalities.
  • Reduced requirement for newspaper notice. With the Collingwood Connection no longer publishing, options for printed newspapers in the local area are limited. The new policy would require newspaper notice only if a proposal is more than 30 metres in height.
  • Inclusion of new language requirements, this would see all public notices published in both official languages.
  • Clarification of method for responding to public comments. This policy will require a proponent to respond to public comments through a comment-response matrix.

By Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Oct 22, 2023 at 06:00

This item reprinted with permission from   Collingwood, Ontario
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