WINNIPEG —; Residents in River Heights are seeing red at the thought of having a new cell phone tower feet away from some property lines.
MTS is proposing to erect a tower at 413 Niagara Street on a property in the residential neighbourhood that is already occupied by a relay station.
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“The structure is designed to really seamlessly blend into the neighbourhood aesthetic,” said company spokesperson Jeremy Sawatzky. “It’s 18 metres. It’s a thin pole, essentially, that is shrouded in what will be a brick chimney.”
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But residents in the area aren’t happy with the proposal.
“As a person living in River Heights I am concerned,” said Rachel Larkins.
The tower will be three times the height of the nearest building and roughly 15 feet away from the closest home.
“It’s very close. We sit on our deck and we’ll see this structure,” she said. “It’s going to be an eye sore. As a property owner in River Heights our property value is going to go down.”
The company is required to notify all homeowners whose properties fall within a specific radius of the proposed project. In this case, that was 19. But residents in the area believe the company should have notified everyone in the community.
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While many residents agreed cell phone service in the area can be spotty, they are upset MTS has chosen this specific location right in the middle of a residential neighbourhood.
“In no way are we opposed to better cell service in our area,” said Sherry Torchinsky. “But there has to be a better location then right outside our windows.”
While Torchinsky agrees it is not aesthetically the best spot for the tower, what’s more upsetting for her is the fact the property is deemed residential and MTS doesn’t seem to have to abide by the same by-laws as homeowners in the area.
“There are zoning restrictions. We are putting a new air conditioner in and (there are restrictions on) how close it can be to our neighbour’s property,” she said. “I’m not sure why they can whatever they want. We can’t put a deck in our backyard that is more than two feet above ground.”
But cell phone towers fall under federal regulations jurisdictions.
A spokesperson for MTS could not address those specific concerns but told Global News it is still in the consultation process.
“We are still in the process of consulting with the public. We want to hear feedback and continue listening to them,” said Sawatzky.
Global News has obtained a letter that was sent to some residents in the area from a strategy group on behalf of MTS.
It outlines that the company wants to build an 18 metre shrouded antenna on site “to enhance capacity and coverage of the date and voice cellular networks around the area of River Heights.”
The residents plan to protest against the proposal at an MTS open house on June 1 at the Corydon Community Centre.
Homeowners said they plan to present a petition from those who live in the area and are opposed to the cell tower.
BELOW: Letter sent to residents in the area from a strategy group on behalf of MTS
Letter to customer from MTS.