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Cellphone tower approved

A controversial cellphone tower will go up near Sylvan Lake despite opposition from municipalities and residents.

Rogers Communications Inc. wants to build the 60-metre tower to boost coverage in the area. It would be located near a residential area just off 60th Street on the southwest edge of town.

A small group of town residents voiced their opposition to the tower at an October Red Deer County municipal planning commission. Residents believe the tower could pose a health risk and would be an eyesore that lowered local property values.

The town opposed the site because it would be fall within an area expected to used for future residential growth along with preserved natural space.

The planning commission rejected the tower application by a 4-3 vote.

However, the county’s subdivision and development appeal board overturned that ruling in a Dec. 16 decision.

The board notes that cellphone towers are often in residential areas and there was “no persuasive evidence or reasons provided as to why the location of this communication tower could not be accommodated within a future residential area.”

A tower would also “not unduly affect adjacent properties.” No evidence was provided that showed property values would be affected and Health Canada regulations address health concerns, says the board decision.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said council is “definitely disappointed” with the appeal board decision.

“It’s certainly installing an 18-storey landmark in a future residential area,” he said.

Sylvan Lake town council reviewed its options on Monday, specifically whether a legal challenge was worthwhile.

Council opted not to take any further action.

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