Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

The Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District has passed a bylaw which would allow the District to lease land to Rogers Communications on Fire District property.

This is a five year lease, subject to renewal.

The bylaw to enter into this agreement was given three readings at the May 1 meeting of the Fire Board.

The property in question is 730 Church Street, in the area behind the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall #1.

Board Chair Paul Giffin said he wanted to make it clear, “this is an agreement between the District and Rogers to allow the use of land owned by the District for the purposes of a cell tower.

“This bylaw does not supercede any requirements by both provincial and federal government and Islands Trust.

“The only thing this bylaw does is say the District is willing to provide a piece of land for construction of a cell tower.

“The process has to start somewhere, and this is how the process starts.

“In the agreement, if Rogers does not meet the required mandates then this contract becomes null and void.”

Trustee Kent Moen said the intent behind the agreement is to give Gabriola, “more emergency communications services.”

Giffin said, “if this tower is built, it will definitely enhance emergency communications.”

Fire Chief Will Sprogis said there is a virtual meeting with Rogers Communications being planned for the end of the month.

He said those wanting to attend that meeting can obtain the link at the Open House being held at the Fire Hall on May 11.

Giffin confirmed, the cell tower being proposed is not just a booster similar to the one Telus has at the Silva Bay Marina, which is under 30 feet in height, and had to meet different regulations.

He added that the zoom meeting at the end of the month does not replace any required public consultation.

“They are doing the zoom meeting as a favour to us to get the community involved right from the get go.”

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