Friday, July 15, 2022

A Tale of Two Towers ... The Chronicles of Prince Rupert

The City's reservoir in the Crestview area has been identified
as potential site for a civic communication tower for 
use as part of its water infrastructure plans

No it's not the latest instalment of the Lord of the Rings collection, but our notes yesterday on the City's plans for a communication tower for the Crestview Area of the city does call to mind a recent tower request that City Council denied, something noted in the comments to our original story from Thursday.

And as our sharp eyed reader points out, the placement of the tower in the heart of a residential area to serve the city's water supply communication needs may catch the eye not only of area residents but of Telus, the national communication company that found some resistance not too long ago for their own tower plans.

To refresh the memory on that controversial request, it was back in July of 2021, that Prince Rupert council pushed back against the Canadian communication giant, suggesting that their proposed site locations were not suitable, with the area near the old BC Hydro site not resonating well with the Council membership.

The opposition to the Telus proposal was championed the loudest by Councillor Wade Niesh at the time.

"I put forward the motion that we refuse this location, as, cause of the same as the previous one. Which, it's the location it's not so much the height that they've changed. So I'm thinking that we should put forward the motion to basically refuse the location but to work with Telus, and again with the proposed locations that we have given them" -- Councillor Wade Niesh providing the motion for discussion on a tower proposal from Telus on July 26, 2021

Council based their opposition to the request at the time on a report from the city's then contract planner Rob Buchan, now the City Manager. His review of the proposal highlighted a number of concerns towards the proposed 30 metre cell phone tower and the Telus choice of the BC Hydro location on Highway 16 at Portage.

"The report before you is seeking Council's direction on whether or not it wishes Telus to proceed with community consultation on a proposed cel tower adjacent to Highway 16. The city has already given feedback once on a previous version of this, but that proposal has been amended  reducing the size of the tower from 50 metres to 30 metres. 

However it is still in a high profile location that does not meet the preferred location criteria as outlined in Council's policy regarding this. So we're wondering whether or not Council wants to give feedback now asking Telus to find a new location, or whether it should procede  with community consultation on this and render a decision at a later time" -- iPlan planner Rob Buchan July 26, 2021

The report (which you can review here) noted that the alternative areas that the City had proposed for Telus were deemed not suitable for their communication plans.

The reference map for the proposed Telus
tower proposal from 2021

Council's decision from July 28th of 2021 not to support the Telus proposal seems to have been the last public comment towards that initiative and so far, there have been no public announcements to state if the difference of opinion had ever been settled.

The rather modest size of the Telus tower though may make for a conversation piece as the City's own tower plan moves forward, with the City outlining in their public notice this week that their Crestview communication tower will be thirty metres (the same as the Telus proposal of the time), but in this case one to be placed at a higher elevation.

So it could be that visual aesthetics may return as a talking point for the area residents as part of any conversation towards the city's plans.

The first opportunity for City Council to speak to the city's plans will come up at the only City Council session for July, that is set for July 25th a chance for the Councillors to discuss towers past and present. 

The deadline for public comment on the City's tower ambitions is noted as August 16th.

Notes on the City's water infrastructure planning can be reviewed through our archive page here.


  1. Here is another example of the inconsistency of the city administration. Just even suggesting this tower after turning down Telus might make me question a conflict of interest with CityWest. If Telus is given a tower site on Montreal Circle no problem.
    Better yet Telus build the tower and Prince Rupert lease space on Telus’s tower.
    Just like Sherman Motors

    1. The City of Prince Rupert is the sole shareholder of Citywest who has a monopoly on internet and cable in the Prince Rupert market, but has to compete against Telus in all other north west markets.

      I think that answers your question about conflict.

    2. Just to clarify, the purpose of the City tower is that of communication for the water and wastewater system, which is different than what the Telus tower would have been put to service towards, thus it's not a CityWest/Telus debate. Though it is a fair question to ask about why one would find favour and not the other! NCR

  2. It's obvious to me that the city powers to be are more concerned about aesthetics than the safety of their residents. I work down at the coast guard base (Seal Cove) and the service for telus cell phones is spotty. I'm told it is because of a lack of direct line of sight to a cell tower. Besides being annoying, I dread the day that here is an emergency concerning the base and I find it unreliable to connect to emergency services and/ or contacts. As security guards whose duty requires 24/7 365 service, it is imperative that we have reliable phone service to call in help if needed. We carry a work telus cell phone when patrolling (alone) at all hours during the night and other times when the workforce is not present. I would like this to be noted in the discussion of this subject should an emergency situation here ever occurs.

  3. Why do they need a hundred foot tower on the highest spot in town