Editor: Over the past several months, some constituents have voiced their objections to me regarding the radio towers proposed for construction in Point Roberts, and the possibility of interference with electronics in the community. I hear these concerns, understand and empathize with them, and, as the member of Parliament, have taken action in the following ways:
Early on, I wrote to Whatcom County officials urging them to take Tsawwassen residents' concerns into account in any application before them. I have followed up, but not yet received a response.
I have educated myself, and engaged not only officials at Industry Canada, but also Industry Minister James Moore, directly about this community issue.
I have met personally with the project's proponents to gain first-hand information on KRPI's plans. At that meeting, the project's principals assured me they are prepared to have engineers on call 24/7 to deal with potential interference issues, a measure that is beyond current requirements.
In early December, I also met personally with designated community representative, Nancy Beaton, who was accompanied by U.S. resident and community advisor, Arthur Reber. They provided to me documentary details/maps showing their belief as to the radial reach of the radio tower transmissions that are causing resident concern. The following week, I hand-delivered these documents directly to Moore, as promised. I advised Beaton by email that I had done so that same week.
Every time my office has been given sufficient notice of meetings, I have sent a representative to listen and keep me apprised of residents' concerns. Unfortunately, at least twice, my Ottawa office (rather than my constituency office in Ladner) has been notified within hours of a meeting, which makes it difficult to arrange a presence. It is not always possible for me to attend meetings or town hall sessions due to my parliamentary and ministerial obligations.
In the riding of Delta- Richmond East, we have 10 other such towers already existing (as well as two in Blaine, WA). Of these 12, nine operate at the same wattage as those proposed for Point Roberts in proximity to residential areas. I find it encouraging to note that, to date, my office has never received complaints about electronic interference or any other related issue due to the operation of these towers:
1. AM 1130 - 50,000 watts, No. 6 Road and Blundell Road (Richmond)
2. AM 1200 - 25,000 watts, No. 6 Road and Cambie Road (Richmond)
3. AM 1320 - 50,000 watts, No. 7 Road and Westminster Highway (Richmond)
4. AM 1470 - 50,000 watts, No. 8 Road and River Road (Richmond)
5. AM 730 - 50,000 watts, 80th Street and McAllister Road (Delta)
6. AM 1040 - 50,000 watts, 104th Street and Highway 99 (Delta)
7. AM 1410 - 50,000 watts, 104th Street and Highway 99 (Delta)
8. AM 600 - 10,000 watts, Nelson and Westminster Highway (Richmond)
9. AM 690 - 50,000 watts, Springhill Crescent on the dike (Richmond)
10. AM 650 -50,000 watts, Triangle Road and No. 6 Road (Richmond)
11. AM 550 - 5,000 watts, Downtown Blaine
12. AM 1600 - 50,000 watts, Downtown Blaine I have continued to keep Moore's department aware of any and all information that has reached me. Following from Moore's January letter and recent email to many residents, at the core of this issue is that the Canadian government ultimately has no jurisdiction over foreign entities and their decision-making processes.
The United States' Federal Communications Commission is responsible for approval of the broadcast license and Whatcom County is responsible for approval of the building
permits. I understand the FCC decision regarding the new towers is the subject of a judicial review in Washington state. I am sure we all look forward to being informed of the results of that deliberation.
What is within our Canadian jurisdiction are rules and regulations over broadcasting within Canada, and tower construction within Canada.
With respect to construction of telecommunications (including radio) towers, Industry Canada recently announced new changes to federal policies. Previously consultations
only had to be conducted on towers over 15 metres, but now community engagement will be mandatory on all new tower construction. While this announcement does not pertain to the Point Roberts towers, it will assist where similar situations occur in Canadian communities in the future.
With respect to programming, CRTC, an independent regulatory authority, oversees decisions. With respect to other broadcasting considerations such as frequencies and electronic interference, Industry Canada does have jurisdiction over these issues within Canada emanating from Canadian sources, and these issues are dealt with in coordination with affected municipalities as complaints may arise. Again, Industry Canada has no jurisdiction to deal with these issues if the broadcaster is in the U.S. As to cross-border matters, the ministry that has ultimate jurisdiction is the federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. I have now informed Minister John Baird of the community's concerns.
As the KRPI towers have not yet been constructed, and broadcasting from the new site has not begun, the ability is limited for even that department to deal with anticipated or pre-emptive concerns. However, we will continue to explore all options.
I want to take the opportunity to reassure the residents of Delta-Richmond East, and particularly Tsawwassen, that I have and will continue to work diligently on this file and to carry out my responsibility to all constituents -to represent their interests in Ottawa and at the federal cabinet table. Any suggestions that I am "missing in action" on this matter, or that I have "shunned" community meetings, are simply not correct.
I look forward to continuing to engage with all constituents of Delta-Richmond East to make our community better for all of us to live and work.
Kerry-Lynne Findlay MP, Delta-Richmond East