OCPM to hold hearings
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 6 octobre 2011
Montreal’s public consultation office (OCPM) will hold hearings on telecommunications antennas in October in four different boroughs, including Côte-des-Neiges on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at St. Kevin’s Church, 5590 Côte-des-Neiges Road. This follows on the heels of four information sessions by the OCPM in September.
The purpose of the hearings is to give citizens the opportunity to weigh in on a draft by-law to amend Montreal’s urban plan so as to regulate the proliferation and distribution of unsightly telecommunications antennas on its territory.
The proposed bylaw sets out a framework for the installation of antennas on public and private property while addressing both landscape and safety issues, as well as public health concerns posed by relay antenna waves.
Earlier this year an ad hoc committee on telecommunications antennas tabled a report at Montreal city council recommending that the city ensure minimum standards in all boroughs with respect to the location and appearance of telecommunication antennas.
The committee, comprised of councillors from all three parties, as well as urban planners, lawyers, and technical experts, was struck in response to a growing outcry from residents across the island-city in areas as far flung as Pierrefonds, Verdun, and Anjou.
According to Chairman Alain Tassé, regulation will force promoters to come to the borough councils to ask for a permit, effectively preventing unilateral installations that either pose a public health or safety risk, or that simply aren’t aesthetically harmonious with the surrounding architecture. “We want to fast track regulation,” he said.
However, supporters of regulation need to avoid going at warp speed because the courts could strike it down. For although municipalities may regulate the installation of antennas, telecommunications comes under federal jurisdiction.
Federal legislation passed in 2009 prohibits the banning of telecommunications antennas. So Montreal city council must carefully evaluate the legitimate scope of its interventions in this delicate matter.
Hence the need for a thoroughgoing public consultation that will itself examine the question of competency sharing between federal and municipal jurisdictions.
Anyone wishing to make a verbal or written presentation must register online at ocpm.qc.ca by no later than Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.
[ Deborah Rankin ]