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


At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Larry Jacobs said...

I just heard from the Vice President of the Pine Lake Cottager's Association. Apparently, someone out that way is actually interested in having the tower placed on their property and intends to communicate that to the Town of Bracebridge.

Larry Jacobs

At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Susan Doolan said...

That's great news.
I am not positive or in favour of having a large cell tower erected in my backyard so to speak. It will be a huge eyesore.
Just as I would not purchase a property near a hydro tower, I would also not purchase a property, near a cell tower - especially a recreational cottage on a lake.
If it goes through, it will reduce property values significantly.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Labelle Family said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Once again it has to become a personal attack...Every aspect of Larry’s opinion is absolutely true. As a non permanent resident like most. I value the scenery and most of all the appreciation in value. Now, if you look to sell your cottage / home on Leech Lk. A perspective buyer may rethink that all other cottages viewed did not have an eyesore to look at. As for children’s education, I’m at a loss to understand the connection to the tower and children’s learning...maybe.....

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is great there will finally be a celltower at leech lake to get better internet and cellphone coverage. As people buy cottages they would more then likely want to have the good service as in this day and age a lot of people use those items. It is long overdue.

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Labelle. In reading Mr. Jacobs notes it doesn't seem he is against a cell tower that will service many area lake communities, but just that there may be a better location for the tower.

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreeing with Larry Jacobs, Susan Dolan and Jeff, the installation of an almost 100 metre (300 ft) high communication tower near Lakeshore Drive South will not only be an eyesore for people living on the other side on Leech Lake but also impact with it's site clearing on the future stability of the forest around to withstand storms like we experienced last year.
For sure property values would go down for anybody exposed or nearby the installation, let alone the increased density of micro-wave bombardment of people living nearby.
Is there really not a better location than impacting on a densely populated lake like Leech lake?

Roland N.

At 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are in agreement that a more suitable location could be chosen for this enormous tower. Surely there is open land more suitable so a prime forest doesn't have to be clearcut which will disrupt wildlufe etc. We purchased a cottage in this area to enjoy nature not to look at man made eyesores. Mr. and Mrs. Bumstead

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please send the link where we can get more information about the proposal and comment.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Labelle Family said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Leslie Wood said...

I am on both sides of this fence!
I welcome improved cell service, but at the same time I am not in favour of the proposed location, both because of the 'view' and the deforestation implications. I hope that we can influence a location decision so that all of our desired criteria (improved cell service, no impact on view, no destabilization due to deforestation) can be met.
I cannot find a link to where I can make a comment to Can Acre. If someone has that link, could they please share.

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

consultation@canacre.com That is the email that I got from some publication that bell had sent out to some people. I did not receive one but someone showed me theirs. I know they wanted people to contact them by June 9th.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger William D Virgin said...

It would be nice to have the service but maybe a better location could be found!

At 7:12 AM, Blogger Labelle Family said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Larry Jacobs said...

Apparently, towers of this size can send RF waves up to 45 miles. I have spent a considerable amount of time with CanAcre and they have been evasive about what area the tower would cover. That lack of transparency is a concern. Bell Canada is not spending in excess of $`1 million for a community of 140 properties. This tower will service a broad area. My input to the company is to consider an alternate site such as the abandoned sawmill on Fraserburg Rd. This location is already cleared and is not close to any existing homes. This would improve service in our area without much direct impact on nearby property.

At 6:43 PM, Anonymous Guy Smiley said...

Their are many positives to having the cell tower close by your property.
The negatives, being the aesthetics of seeing a tower during the day, and with possible blinking red or white lights when the sun goes down and into the night will upset somebodies apple cart. The bigger worry is the potential cancer risk due to the close proximity of the tower to our residences. Europe seems to be more progressive with their minimum cell tower distances to people than we are here in North America.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Shirley Rolin said...

I also am in favour of better cell service, however, not at the proposed location for the same reasons as everyone else. Cell towers are ugly, they are a real or perceived health threat and will negatively affect our property values.

There are lots of other options for locations for a cell tower not near our homes/cottages. I hope this company is open to hearing our concerns and making a change.

At 10:41 PM, Blogger Rob and Dianne Brown said...

As year round residents of Leech Lake we support the idea of a tower to provide better internet service since it is our connection to the rest of the world. We also respect nature and don’t want the environment to suffer or to turn the sanctuary of Muskoka into a suburb of the city. Surely there must be a way to stay in touch with our friends, family, and the world while also preserving nature. I know that at Lake of Bays they do a very good job of disguising towers to resemble very tall trees, and while visable, they are not an eyesore. They are also placed far enough away from the cottages so as not to be a distraction from nature. We fully support a tower near Leech Lake to provide better service, but also support the further investigation of an alternate location that would provide the same service without the visual distraction. We definitely need better internet service and are happy that something is being done about it.

Rob and Dianne Brown

At 2:28 AM, Blogger Troy Labelle said...

This is the world we live in and being connected is now the new norm. The lousy cell and traditional phone service being replaced by a stable communication channel should be comforting to all. Its seems we love the new tower but not in our backyard. Lets hope technology finds a way to replace the tower in time.

We enjoy our home but need also need and want to be connected, Larry is entitled to his view and should have it like everyone else, but his signature should be his private one not as president of our lake.

I also expect that we have really no say in the matter and should concentrate efforts to see how others have minimized the visual of the tower, I know in Dubai they make them look like palm trees and have see ones with a treetop look, this might be a better way for us all to get what we want.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Karen Towsley said...

I would love the cell tower! I would prefer it was in a different location or disguised. Thank you, Larry, for continuing to work behind the scenes to inform us...your work as President is appreciated!

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Send comments to three addresses

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Burton said...

I appreciate that Mr. Jacobs, as the president of our cottage association, notified Leech Lake cottagers of a pending cell tower. I think there is a better location.

Mr Labelle, in reading the blog comments I noticed that Mr. Jacobs has not 'dissed' you in any of his comments, but just laid out the facts. Maybe we can suggest to CanAcre to move it to a better location and disguise it as a palm tree.

Mr and Mrs Burton

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI - it will only be better reception for Bell mobility subscribers and it will be too tall to be disguised.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Shouli & Hui said...

I like to idea to have better cell phone service in the area, however don’t like the idea to have the tower being installed so close to our community mainly because of potential health impact. We already sent our comments and concerns to the Bell. We should work together unitedly to persuade Bell to install the tower at a different location. Thank you, Larry for great effort. Please keep us posted. We need to make sure our voices being heard and we can make some changes!

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Labelle Family said...

I will say this again. In this day and age all companies have a respect for the green because many have demanded it over the years. The tower has been placed where it is by engineers much more qualified then us for the betterment of the community in whole not just our lake.

As for the health risks, there are none as per the American Cancer Society who I think I will listen to over Larry. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/cellular-phone-towers.html

Please people do not bother these companies, and cost us the progress for the lake.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leech Lake community, it is time to stand up and be heard! A 100m high cell tower next to a small Muskoka lake is outrageous, this is not Toronto. Bell has provided no information on alternative locations considered.  The proposed location is based not only on coverage, but at the cheapest cost to Bell.  There are better locations available that are further from the lake and the tower should not be visible to any cottage, PERIOD.

Check out this similar story on a lake not far from Leech Lake, www.alpha-beta.ca (click Tower Opposition on the left side).

The lake association should consider involving a company like this, and we should demand Bell meet with us.

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the bell coverage map from Bell.ca, their own web site -there is already excellent service to Leech Lake This tower is for an upgrade that is not needed . We do not benefit at all.

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toronto Star Building 88m
Leech Lake Bell Mobility Tower 99.6m
Toronto City Hall 100m
Royal York Hotel 124m
Exchange Tower 146m
First Canadian Place 298m
CN Tower 553m

This Tower will be higher than some of the tallest buildings in Toronto and 3x higher than most cell towers.

This will be an eye-sore and ruin the character of the lake.

The lake level is 313 m. The proposed tower location is at the highest point on the lake, 330m. The top of the tower will be nearly 120m above lake level. We will all see it during the day and night with its flashing lights.

Go look at the Tower just north of the Home Depot in Town and see if you think it will fit in beside our lake.

They must find a better location and the tower must be at a scale that fits for a lakeside community, even if it means installing more than one tower to provide the coverage they need for the entire Fraserburg area.

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Larry Jacobs said...

We discussed the proposed tower at the Annual Meeting on June 24th and everyone in attendance is opposed to the location. There was one abstention.

You have probably received a response to your questions and concerns from CanAcre on behalf of Bell Canada. What you won't see are the responses sent to other people. That is a highly cynical process lacking basic transparency. People have received very different responses depending on specific questions asked or concerns voiced.

Few if any of you would have received a response which defined the proposed service area which CanAcre has indicated will take in at least Wood Lake (and likely Vankoughnet), Fraserburg, (and likely Healy Lake) Bigwind and Bird Lake. That is an area which you could estimate at 530 square miles. Do you believe that Leech Lake is the only location in that entire area which is suitable for this tower?

One comment which is common to all of the responses we have seen is:

"Bell Mobility has made an effort to minimize the visibility of the proposed tower by reviewing multiple vantage points in the area for potential tower sites around the lake considering the number and location of cottages and residences along the lake and in the surrounding area." What that says to me is they only looked at our immediate area. Most likely because they have a willing landlord. This tower does not belong 80 meters from cottages. In fact, Leech Lake is one of the most densely populated communities in the area.

One really troubling element of this is that most of the north road was not even asked for input but these are the people that will need to look at this eyesore day and night.

Just so you know that Christine and I are not anti-progress, we researched and provided a constructive suggestion of an alternate site off Fraserburg Rd. which is already cleared and which is more than 1 km from the nearest existing homes. That would minimize the impact on people which it is clear, have not been factored into the proposal. CanAcre has stated that they will examine the proposed alternate site, but we suspect they will simply pay lip service to the idea.

Some of you have been told that Science and Industry Canada has suggested there will be no impact on property values. I was not aware that S&IC was in the real estate business. One reliable real estate study post a new tower we saw indicated a 15% drop in property values near a tower.

It is time for Leech Lake to come together behind the new Executive elected last weekend on this important issue.

You have 20 days to get back to CanAcre. But you should not accept their response. After all, they get rewarded for getting this thing rammed through. You should demand a response from the Town and Science and Industry Canada as well.

We have contacted Tony Clement who has had his office reach out to Bell Canada. And we will be approaching the Town on the issue and we plan to attend a meeting the Town will schedule on this proposal.

Please, let's not be complacent any longer.

Larry Jacobs

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Alexander Kambourov said...

Our property is on the North side. We missed the Annual Meeting This weekend (July 20) is the first we have heard about the proposed tower. We are completely opposed to this location. We obviously missed the deadline to contact CanAcre, but we intend to do so anyway. Given the low population density in surrounding areas, it is unacceptable to plant such a monster construction so close to a more densely inhabited area like Leech Lake. Besides environmental concerns, there are health related ones as well. While research remains inconclusive, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states: “At very high levels, RF energy is dangerous. It can heat the body's tissues rapidly. However, such high levels are found only near certain equipment, such as powerful long-distance transmitters." I took these quotes form the American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/. Is our local government really willing to gamble with our health like that?

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At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends, I spoke with the town this morning. The planner. After reviewing the Canada Industry website it is clear that there is a multi step process. We are at step 1. The town has not even received further information from Bell. Sadly our community could have dealt with this issue at our LLCA meeting but they were obstructed from doing so by the executive. No time on the agenda was the reason. Listen, one the tower is above 30 metres. That’s roughly 90 or so feet. Not 90 metres. The tower location is up to the provider Bell and the municipality according to the Industry Canada site. Industry Canada has the final say. However that said less then .1 percent of cases actually go this route. The providers are eager to work with the community. Now.....we are all for better communication. Especially those that intend on running home businesses from their cottage which I am unsure if that is even legal. However...the tower can transmit from 22 to 40 kilometers. Given that the area in which we find ourselves has a network of roads that do not border on a lakeside community there is surely to be a spot that can accomplish 1/ greater cell service in our area...though at Leech lake we have no problem with this. 2/ a location that does not visually interfere with the reason we are all up here. To escape down there! And lastly that it will allow the Hunt Camp an income if they so desire on one of the many hundreds of acres they own that are accessible by other roads other than Lorne road. Quite frankly having no internet service at my cottage because of the hill on the north the tower may be as large as it is because it is sited to low to really be beneficial. I was told I would need a 70 foot tower to catch internet due to the rise behind me. For those who are interested the process is a long one which invites comments well beyond the first shot over the bow of June. Yet there seems to be the a rush on this all of sudden as per the town for reasons unknown. My understanding is that we as a community have lost our good relationship with the Hunt Camp and I am not sure why that is, I know they intended to log areas behind the point but because of opposition and road wars etc they probably are not receptive to working with our community? If anyone out there has a good rapport with the owners please please speak to them and ask them to consider those of us whom have not been the source of their angst. Let’s start by reaching out to the Planner at Bracebridge to find out the facts and to work with the Hunt Camp and other prospective land owners and Bell to site this tower where it is best serving the needs of those that need it. We certainly do not. This tower is not for Leech Lake, it is for all those other communities that do not have service. Towers are quite common at this point particularly in Rousseau and Muskoka Lakes and well disguised. This one is not from what I gather. Luckily it is over 30 metres and requires our input, otherwise they’d just put it up without consult. To educate yourself is important. Don’t believe what you hear specifically with the misinformation or scare tactics in the narratives found on this site. A solution is always possible. Here is the actual site that will provide you with good concise and clear information. Truth that is the center of our existence. We must seek truth. http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ic-gc.nsf/eng/07422.html

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Larry Jacobs said...

I wanted to update everyone on the lake on the work that has been completed to influence the location of this proposed tower to a more appropriate location.

Several volunteers went door to door to get letters signed in opposition to the tower location.
This included Shirley Rollin, Leanne Gormally, Susan Doolan and Christine & I. More than 150 letters have been forwarded with an executive summary to Town Council, Bell Mobility, CanAcre, MP Tony Clement, MPP Norm Miller as well as the Town Planning Director. We have asked for the proposed location to be rejected by the Planning Committee and to work on an alternate site which would not directly affect any lake in the area. This is within the admittedly limited powers of the Town and was set out in a Supreme Court ruling on the subject several years ago.

We have spoken with the Regional Director for the Federal Ministry. Others gave engaged the Federal Ministry directly.

The Pine Lake Hunt Club Inc. was asked to change its support for the location but they refused.

The Deputy Mayor, Rick Maloney, came out and spent more than an hour touring the lake and the proposed site and met with us.

The first key date is the Planning Committee meeting on August 15th at 7:00pm. That will be followed by a Council Meeting on the 22nd. We will ask for the opportunity to speak at the Council meeting. Please plan to attend.

Many individuals have also written directly to those mentioned above.

Thanks to everyone who has demonstrated their commitment to the enjoyment of the community in pushing back professionally and thoughtfully.

If you would like a copy of the summary sent on behalf of the lake, please let us know.

Larry Jacobs

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...


Thank you for taking the initiative to question Bell's attempt to locate a cell tower right beside Leech Lake. As a cottage owner and seasonal resident of Leech Lake, I too would prefer that the new tower be located at an alternate site that would not negatively impact Leech Lake, or any of the other lakes in the area.

I am prepared to assist you and the other cottagers in your efforts, as best I can, including providing pro bono legal services to oppose the proposed location of this tower at Leech Lake. Please contact me at jmorrison@mathewsdinsdale.com or via cellphone/text message at 416-568-7346, if I can be of assistance.

Also, would you please send me a copy of the proposal that CanAcre provided to residents of the lake, along with summary sent on behalf of the lake to CanAcre/Bell, and any other relevant documentation, including contact information for the representatives of the various stakeholders (ie. Bell, CanAcre, Pine Lake Hunt Club, Planning Department of Bracebridge, Industry Canada, etc.).

Thanks again for all your efforts on this important issue.

Joe Morrison

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At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Susan Doolan said...

We have been informed by Cheryl Kelley, Director of Planning and Development for the town of Bracebridge, that CanAcre, the representative for Bell Mobility, has not submitted their formal application for a Cell Tower at Leech Lake to the town in advance of the Aug. 15 Planning & Development Committee meeting.
Therefore, the subject of the cell tower will not be on the agenda.
The next potential date will be September 26, 2018.
She has stated that she will do her best to update anyone who has copied her on letters that were emailed CanAcre.
Anyone who has not copied her, or who wishes to sent a letter, her email address is Ckelley@bracebridge.ca
Also, for those who have not had the opportunity to send a letter, it is not too late.


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