Betreff: Serious Council Dispute Over Cell Phone Antennas in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.

Von: Martin Weatherall

Datum: Wed, 27 Jun 2007 22:56:00 -0400




----- Original Message -----

From: Magda Havas

Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 12:29 PM

Subject: Cell Phone Antennas in Simcoe


Cell phone antennas on a water tower in Simcoe Ontario has been a thorn in the side of residences who believe their illlnesses are associated with the radio frequencies from these antennas.  Readings in the backyard of one residence are well over 0.2 microW/cm2 and exceed the recommended Salzburg guideline of 0.1 microW/cm2 but are within Health Canada's guideline of 1000 microW/cm2.


Last year citizens presented their case to Norfolk County Council who then voted to have the antennas moved to a different location.  The move never took place, in part, because of the cost associated with the move.  


Since then new Councillors have been elected and the citizens wanted to presented new information but the meeting ended rather abruptly.  Read the articles below.


The entire session was televised live and when the Mayor left the Chambers the cameras stopped rolling.  Citizens stayed to discuss what had just happened and the police were called in to clear the Chamber.  Fortunately they were smart enough to allow the emotions to subside naturally.  Eventually people began to leave.  One Councillor, Charlie Luke, stayed behind to talk with the people who remained and he was as stunned with what happened as were the rest of us.  


What I found most disturbing, in addition to the Mayor's emotional outbreak, his desire to silence people about the health concerns, and his defamatory remarks about specific individuals in the community, was his obvious lack of understanding about science and the scientific process.  


So often we have people in positions of authority who are unable to grasp the science behind the decisions they need to make.  This is a serious concern in this case but it is also a serious concern at hearings with judges presiding who can't understand the information scientists are providing them.  Since the information needs to be detailed and it comes from scientists who have different perspectives how can judges, jurors and others make "informed" decisions?  It is analogous to presenting information in a foreign language and expecting to have a fair hearing.


The articles below present a good overview of what happened.



Printed from web site Wednesday, June 27, 2007 -  © 2007  Brantford Expositor

Norfolk mayor pulls plug on meeting

Cheryl Bauslaugh

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 07:00

Local News - Opponents of the Simcoe cell tower were outraged Tuesday, after Norfolk County Mayor Dennis Travale abruptly cancelled a council meeting before they had a chance to speak.

"This is so disappointing, that it had to come to this," said Geoff Saldanha, one of 20 scheduled speakers on the cell tower issue. "What would have been an important meeting, with a lot of good information, was stopped, because of procedure."

Travale started the meeting by warning presenters that he would only listen to new information on the issue. Residents have raised concerns about possible health risks since Rogers Wireless equipment was installed on the Simcoe water tower last year.

The mayor also criticized the lack of scientific evidence provided to council and said it was "fear mongering" to link neighbourhood cases of cancer to the cell tower.

"It's an ill-advised attempt to incite panic, like yelling fire in a darkened theatre," said Travale. "I know how devastating such a diagnosis can be."

When Keith Simpson, one of the scheduled speakers, attempted to respond, Travale ordered him to sit down. Simpson, a Simcoe lawyer, continued to press his point and Travale left the council chamber.

The mayor returned minutes later and again ordered Simpson to sit down. When Simpson continued to speak, Travale declared the meeting over and exited the building.

A call to his home was answered by his wife, Barb, who said Travale would have no comment to make that evening.

Simpson said he was "appalled" at Travale's behaviour. "We just received a dressing down and then, we were not given an opportunity to respond."

Kelly Currie, whose husband, Dan, has symptoms so severe that he is unable to live in the family home - located just below the tower - was close to tears at the sudden turn of events.

"It's extremely upsetting," she said. "We had new medical information to present."

Dan Currie first raised a red flag about the cell equipment more than a year ago, after he began suffering severe headaches, dizziness and loss of memory whenever he was near his Union Street home. Doctors at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital recently diagnosed him as being sensitive to electromagnetic fields.

Currie said he was offended by the mayor's comments and dismayed by the meeting's cancellation.

"Democracy was denied tonight," he said. "The mayor took shots at me liberally, without allowing anyone to respond."

Coun. Charlie Luke said he's never seen a meeting cancelled over procedure in his almost 28 years as a municipal representative. He's hoping the session will be rescheduled soon.

"I hope everything will cool down so that we can get back to business."

Just when that will happen is up in the air.

County manager Bill Allcock said the clerk must provide 48 hours notice before scheduling a meeting. That means it would be Friday morning, at the earliest, before a makeup session could be held.

The cell tower issue wasn't the only one on council's agenda Tuesday night.

The final tax rates for this year were scheduled to be passed. Allcock said that has to be done by the end of this week, so that tax bills can be sent out.

He also suggested that council may decide to hold a special council session to deal with the cell tower issue.

ID- 587693

© 2007 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Council erupts

Wednesday June 27, 2007

No need to wait until Canada Day for fireworks - there were lots last night at Norfolk County council.

Emotions regarding the cellphone antenna on the Union Street water tower boiled over, prompting Mayor Dennis Travale to abruptly end the meeting as Norfolk OPP were called into the council chambers.

About 70 people were in the gallery and 20 of those ready to give deputations on the cellphone tower issue when council came to that item on the agenda around 7:45 p.m. But before the public was allowed to speak, Travale took about 15 minutes to lay some ground rules and explain what would and would not be admissible information.

It was an emotional speech for the mayor, who had to stop part way through to compose himself after addressing the issue of cancer and cellphone towers.

"I know how devastating and worrying such a diagnosis can be and the last thing anyone wants is some rogue running through the neighbourhood" suggesting the tower has caused cancer in local residents, he said.

He said the council wants scientific proof, "not some mumbo jumbo taken off the Internet."

People in the gallery scoffed and began talking after that comment but Travale was quick to regain order.

"If you can’t behave, you can leave," he warned, banging his gavel.

"Running around claiming the children are at risk, that it’s causing cancer . . . that the sky is falling is fearmongering," he then continued. "Council will not make an emotional decision on this or any other issue."

As the deputations were set to begin leading off with Geoff Saldanha, Elgin Avenue resident Keith Simpson approached the podium. Travale banged his gavel and asked Simpson to sit down as he had not yet been recognized by council (Simpson was No. 17 on the list of delegations) but Simpson remained at the podium, trying at times to speak over Travale.

"I am appalled by this council. We have just been given a lecture and dressing down," Simpson said between gavel bangs. 

Travale recessed the meeting and members of council left the chamber. Travale said the meeting would reconvene once Simpson had returned to his seat. 

After about five minutes of talking at the podium, Simpson did take his seat and councillors and Norfolk County staff members began returning to the chamber.


As Travale approached his seat, Simpson again stood and took the podium.

"You are not recognized," Travale said, again banging the gavel. "Sit down."

Simpson again refused to sit down, saying he wanted to address Travale’s speech prior to the delegations and ask a procedural question.

"Clear the chamber or we will call the police," Travale said before banging the gavel and again walking out of the chamber followed by some members of council. 

A few minutes later County Manager Bill Allcock told the group the meeting was over.

Councillor John Wells attempted to reason with angry citizens.

"We were quite prepared to listen," Wells said. "All the mayor asked was would Mr. Simpson sit down . . . The procedure is simple. You cannot speak in this chamber until you are recognized by the mayor."

Wells added a few minutes later, "Council is finished for this evening."

Allcock told the Reformer a decision will need to be made by the mayor and members of council on how best to proceed. 

Last night’s meeting was never officially closed.

Those still wanting to discuss the cellphone tower issue last night remained in the chambers for well over an hour after Mayor Travale left the building with a Norfolk OPP officer looking on.

Dr. Magda Havas was prepared to present new health information about cellphone towers to council last night and was disappointed with how things turned out.

"I was stunned by his lack of professionalism. I’m in a bit of a state of shock," Havas said. "He does not have the emotional control."

She said she would consider coming back to a future meeting to discuss the issue, but "I honestly don’t think (residents will) get a fair hearing."

Resident Danielle Pender lives 125 metres from the water tower and wanted to present an e-mail she received from Travale when he was a candidate for mayor. The e-mail from Travale, dated Oct. 25 at 8:10 a.m. said he had "great sympathy" for their situation.

"It is my position that this situation is a prime example where the ‘precautionary principle’ could and should be used," he wrote.

Pender said she felt "disgust" over what happened in the council chambers and wanted to know between that e-mail and now, "what’s changed?"

Councillor Charlie Luke chatted with concerned citizens, but said he couldn’t explain why the mayor had walked out or what caused it.

"In six and a half months, I have not seem him operate that way," Luke said. "Somebody got to him."

Resident George Furry said despite the meeting ending quickly, there are likely more fireworks on the way because this issue isn’t going away.

"Anyone who thinks they’re affected should appear at town council," he said.

A call and e-mail to Mayor Travale last night by the Reformer were not returned.

Kate Schwass (519) 426-3528 ext. 140