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REPORTING · 14th November 2012
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council saw a presentation from Chad Marlatt representing TELUS at their regular meeting on Monday, November 5th. He was giving council a report on the planned TELUS Radio Communications Facility, which would upgrade the cell service around the community.

“We wanted to give a short presentation on the proposed replacement facility across the street here,” said Marlatt. “And also give you some background information on wireless technology, why it’s required, the service use you have in Kitimat now and what TELUS has planned for the future.”

He explained TELUS is improving their network in Kitimat, for emergency services, business and contacting their friends. The wireless technology is growing. Half of all people use wireless devices. More people are using wireless devices to send and receive information rather than talk on the phone. It is expected to double each year following 2014.

He explained just how a cell phone communicates with a cell phone tower before telling Council the tower would need a clear line of site. Trees, buildings and mountains obstruct a signal and deteriorate the signal. The more people are using a network, the more the network needs to be upgraded to provide better service.

Right now, they are required to consult with the local government about the changes they are making.

He told Council there are two TELUS tower sites. One was in the TELUS Building which supports two towers. The other is located in Service Centre. The latter was installed this year to relieve some of capacity which was being put on the tower across the street from the Public Safety Building. They are also considering putting in a third tower across the river from Kitimat.

“The goal is so there will be in building service for the entire community. So people would be able to use their phones,” said Marlatt.

The new tower will be 45 metres tall, which will be a substantial improvement in service. It will be at the rear of the property and will replace the two towers already on the site.

Marlatt explained they have done public consultation and have contacted homes within 100 metres of the project. Two comments were received. One was in support of improved service and one wanted to relocate the tower.

Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know if the upgrade to the tower will improve the service in Cablecar and when the third tower will go forward. Marlatt replied TELUS is submitting information to the Crown right now, because it will be going on Crown Land. He promised to keep in touch with Mayor and Council.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff wanted to know if they have considered Fire Mountain as a location. He explained while the mountain is more remote, it will give better coverage. Marlatt was not certain where it would be but stated it would not have the capacity or penetrate homes. He added TELUS would be upgrading to newer technology in the future and it will fall into urban areas. They need to be closer to where people are using their devices.

Councillor Edwin Empinado wanted to know, if there was a black out, the tower would still function. He was told there would be back up generators so the facility would still be used.

Acting Mayor Rob Goffinet asked if the tower would improve cell service in the Village or on the Channel. Marlatt replied it is expected to improve service, but they will not know for sure until it goes in.

The tower came up for a second time under reports. Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion to state the consultation has been satisfactory and concur with the project. The motion was called and carried.