Saanich open house on new PKOLS tower leaves attendees confused

Saanich open house on new PKOLS tower leaves attendees confused

The District of Saanich has shared information on the new communication tower that will replace the old one at PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park).

At an open house held at the Gordon Head Lawn Bowling Club on Thursday, attendees browsed through display boards with explanations of the different site options where the new tower will be constructed.

“The tower that we currently have right now is fatigued by federal standards, so we spent the last year determining seven possible locations where this new tower is going to go,” said Janet Racz, land agent with the district.

Most of the attendees were left confused, saying it would have been more helpful and informative if Saanich had organized a thorough presentation where they were given the opportunity to give feedback or ask questions instead of just putting up information boards and distributing handouts.

“My concern is the process. Rather than going out asking what the options were, they’ve already done geotechnical work for this one option on the parking lot,” said Saanich resident Graham Bennett.

According to Darrell Wick, president of PKOLS Mt Douglas Conservancy, they have been kept in the dark since they first learned about the project during a council meeting last October.

“They seem to be focused on putting a tower in the parking lot. But we believe that it should be up next to the original tower which is what was stated in their request for proposal (RFP),” added Wick.

The district says they had three different contractors who specialize in towers who looked at their initial tender for the replacement cell tower to be built beside the current one, but they did not recommend this site as an option for many reasons.

“We didn’t even realize at that time so that’s when we had subsequent meetings and thought, okay, we had to consider other locations then and bring everything to the table,” Racz explained.

“There is a clear option which would have hardly any impact to the environment, and that would be the parking lot.”

They will recommend this to the council in their next meeting, which will decide where the new tower will be constructed.

Harry CorroHarry Corro

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