Leech Lake, Muskoka

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Proposed Communications Tower

Larry Jacobs requested this article be posted. As cottagers we are positive about the tower being installed.

Alan Greenwood

Proposed Communications Tower on Leech Lake

I am writing this to rally input from the Leech Lake community regarding the Bell Canada 99.6-meter-high communications tower proposed to be built on Leech Lake.   According to Can Acre, the company acting as an agent for Bell, they have received just six comments on the proposal.  Comments from property owners is split evenly between support for better cellphone service versus opposition.  
The proposed tower would be 3-4 times the height of the forest and would be visible from most properties on Leech Lake particularly those on the west side of the lake or the east side of the point.   Personally, I am opposed to the location of the tower but Bell has a willing property owner in the Pine Lake Hunt Camp.  I believe there may be a better location off Fraserburg Road where many fewer property owners would be negatively impacted but would still provide enhanced service.  This tower is not to service Leech Lake solely.  The tower will serve a fairly wide range of properties on nearby lakes. 
My opposition centers primarily on the negative visual impact.  But there are other important considerations. 
The installation would require clearing of a fairly large area of forest close to Lakeshore Drive South.  It makes no sense to place a tower such as this in a forest.  The research into the impact of logging or similar activities on forests is clear and definitive.  The integrity of the overall forests is often compromised and susceptible to storm damage in the period immediately after clearing or logging.  We would have lost trees during last June’s storm, but the extent of damage we sustained on the south road was made much worse because the forest had been logged just months prior.  Research points clearly to changes in wind patterns through the forest, changes to drainage and root damage by machinery. 
Acidity levels on Leech Lake are currently the subject of study between the Ministry of Environment and Fleming College.  Clearing forests tends to create higher levels of acidic soil erosion into the lake exacerbating this water quality concern.
Health risks of exposure to radiation and RF waves are not completely understood but studies have found that living within 400 meters of a cell tower could be a contributing factor in increase incidents of cancer, birth defects, miscarriages and other health risks. 
CanAcre requested the Association provide time at our Annual Meeting to answer concerns about their proposal.   I have requested that Can Acre / Bell Canada set up a public meeting on the proposal which is apparently not required by the Town of Bracebridge.   The public may be welcome at a potential committee meeting on August 15th where this proposal will be discussed.  The Town has very limited input into this proposal. 
Whether you support or object to the proposed tower, please provide your input on this using the link provided in the mailing you received and the newspaper advertisement in the Examiner.   Public input will be accepted until June 9th.

Larry Jacobs
President, Leech Lake Cottagers’ Association