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Red Deer city council should get involved to help improve cell phone reception in east-central neighbourhoods, says councillor

Coun. Lawrence Lee makes a notice of motion on Monday
Coun. Lawrence Lee wants Red Deer city council to send an official letter to telecommunications providers, urging them to improve cell phone reception in east-central Red Deer. (Black Press file photo).

Coun. Lawrence Lee wants Red Deer city council to intervene to help east-central residents get better cellphone reception from telecommunications providers.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that great swaths of Alberta’s third largest city have inconsistent and unreliable cell phone service, said Lee, during a break in the city council meeting on Monday.

Dozens of Red Deerians have complained to Lee about how chronically poor reception is in Clearview, Clearview Ridge, Garden Heights, Timberlands and Timberstone.

“I’ve received over 50 complaints (through) phone calls, emails, running into people in the streets, in stores, everything,” he said.

Many of these impacted residents have sent letters directly to their telecommunications asking for better service. Lee said he and other individual councillors have also called to complain on behalf of Red Deerians.

The standard response is providers are working in it or waiting for federal approvals for new cellphone towers, said Lee. But he noted several deadlines set by these private companies for service improvements have come and gone, to no avail.

“I just want to see what the impediments are” and how they can finally be resolved, said Lee.

He put forward a Notice of Motion at Monday’s city council meeting, asking council to send an official letter to telecommunication providers expressing the municipal government’s concern and impatience with poor service.

It states cellular phone service is vital community infrastructure, akin to roads and other utilities, so having stable and reliable service is a necessity for Red Deer residents — especially in accessing emergency services.

Many neighbourhoods in east-central Red Deer have been developed more than a decade without having adequate cellular phone coverage, stated Lee. He wants the Office of the Mayor and Council to “reach out in writing” to telecommunications providers, making them aware of the urgent need for improved cellphone service within city limits.

He also wants city administrators to bring back to council a process for planning future neighbourhoods to ensure they will have adequate telecommunication service for residents.

Lee noted the new Evergreen neighbourhood is now being planned just north of the impacted areas. He would not want new homes built in areas where cellphone service is a problem.

Lee’s notice of motion was read by Lee on Monday, but will be discussed by city council on Aug. 29.

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