Kersley and Red Bluff’s cell phone and internet service is set to improve, as the Cariboo Regional District has approved Telus Communications’ request to install new wireless communications towers in the areas.
The CRD approved the requests at its board meeting Dec. 7, with a new 40-metre tower to be constructed on privately owned land across the street from 2970 Red Bluff Road, just before Richbar Golf Course; and a 30-metre tower to be built in Kersley, at 4840 Edwards Road.
The towers will improve cell phone reception and internet service in the Red Bluff and Kersley areas. Telus media relations liaison Liz Sauvé told the Observer the company cannot accurately project which specific area will be covered with new service, but said Telus should have more information once the sites are built.
There were initially two towers proposed in Kersley, with another planned on Parr Road, but due to community feedback Telus will now only be installing one.
Telus was required by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to send out notification packages to all properties located near the towers, and residents were invited to submit comments. The company also held a community meeting in Kersley.
The company’s report to the CRD indicates it received just one submission from a Red Bluff resident, who said the tower is too close to his or her property, while 27 people attended Telus’ public consultation meeting at the Kersley Community Hall on Sept. 20, and the company received 10 comments on the project: seven with concerns and three in support.
Most Kersley residents were concerned with the location of towers within a residential area. Telus said in its replies to the residents (which were documented and given to the CRD) and in its proposal that the Kersley towers’ locations were specifically chosen to reduce visibility from nearby homes, but that the towers need to be within the residential area to provide adequate coverage.
CRD Area A director Mary Sjostrom said she hopes the compromise to one tower will satisfy the majority of Kersley residents.
“I certainly respect their concerns but the other issue we have is so many people are going to cells, and overall it’ll really help with the cell service. There have been requests from the area for quite some time, I understand from my former director,” said Sjostrom, who was elected as Area A (Red Bluff/Quesnel South) director in the October 2018 election.
“I think overall people will be pleased, I’m glad that Telus was working with the community…. It’s not going to give them the service they would have got with two, but it will certainly improve what is there.”
Sjostrom said the next step will be further improving internet service in the area.
“I think Telus is really moving ahead … and I think as we move the community forward, they will have a good understand of what we’re trying to do.”
Sauvé said construction of the towers will likely begin in fall 2019. In its proposal, Telus indicated construction will take around a month per tower.