Dear SWEEP list: this bulletin consists of a summary of the recent goings on
with the cell phone antenna placement in Simcoe, Ontario.
Pam Berec and Kelly Morin Currie (who provide a statement immediately below)
have led a successful campaign to have their Norfolk County councillors vote to
have cell antenna removed from the Simcoe water tower.
The vote has yet to be ratified and discussion around the issue is intense, as
this is the first time (to our knowledge) that a Canadian government at any
level has shown an intention to deal with residents complaints about what they
feel to be health effects of wireless communications devices.
Ratifying vote will take place Tuesday June 13th, 5pm, 50 Colborne St., Simcoe.
1. STATEMENT BY PAM BEREC AND KELLY MORIN-CURRIE
2.‘TOWER OF ANGER.’ SIMCOE REFORMER, Friday June 02, 2006.
3. ‘SIMCOE CELLPHONE TOWER TO BE MOVED; NEIGHBOURS COMPLAINT OF ILLNESS.’
BRANTFORD EXPOSITOR, June 08. 2006
4. ‘CAMPAIGN BREWS OVER SECOND CELL TOWER.’ SIMCOE REFORMER, June 08, 2006.
(Articles submitted by M. Weatherall)
STATEMENT BY PAM BEREC AND KELLY MORIN-CURRIE
Cell Phone Tower - Simcoe, Ontario
In the fall of 2005 a Rogers Wireless cell phone tower was installed on top of a
water tower in Simcoe. This tower is in a residential area, near a hospital and
directly beside an elementary school with approximately 420 students.
No public notice was given to area residents prior to the installation. Public
notice is only required by Industry Canada if a new tower is being built.
In February 2006, with the support and guidance from Dr. Magda Havas and Dr.
David Fancy we began gathering extensive literature on cell phone towers and
the radiofrequency radiation that they emit. We also started contacting people
across Canada and around the world for information. We forwarded the literature
that we gathered and stated our concerns to our Mayor, Town
Councillors, MP, MPP, and School Board. We contacted our local health unit,
Industry Canada and Health Canada and voiced our concerns. Industry Canada and
Health Canada gave us the same response; that the radiofrequency radiation that
cell phone base stations emit fall within the guidelines of Safety Code 6. Our
MP has still not responded to our letters and emails. We contacted our MPP and
his response was that it was a Federal issue. We tried to get the support of
the School Board. They took no action.
On March 30, 2006 we met with Rogers Wireless and representatives of County
Staff. When Rogers was requested to move the tower they stated that they were
not prepared to move the tower at this time. County staff informed us that we
could make a deputation to Town Council and request them to move the tower.
With the help of a very innovative and energetic Grade 12 law class we began
informing the neighbourhood of the tower. The students canvassed the
neighbourhood, informed the residents and discovered many who were suffering
from unexplainable recent symptoms such as headaches, and fatique. The response
they received was overwhelming; the neighbourhood cheered them on
and thanked them for their efforts. People were concerned about the health risks
and angry that they were not notified that it was installed. .
Letters, emails and phone calls started pouring in to our Town Councillors and
Mayor. Our local paper began covering the story and letters to the editor were
On June 6, 2006, Dr. Magda Havas along with 21 area residents and students
presented their facts and concerns to Town Council. Council Chambers was
packed with concerned residents from across Simcoe; not just those living in
close proximity to the tower. It took four hours to hear everyone speak.
Sometimes it was emotional, at all times it was informative. The main message:
err on the side of caution; the constituents health especially when they are
children far outweigh any other issues such as lost revenue.
The motion to remove the tower was passed with an 7 to 1 vote.
‘TOWER OF ANGER.’ SIMCOE REFORMER, Friday June 02, 2006
Tower of anger
Man says cellphone tower near home is making him and
Samantha Craggs - SIMCOE REFORMER
Friday June 02, 2006
The Simcoe Reformer - Since February, Dan Currie hasn't felt
An accountant by trade, ordinarily quick thinking and alert,
Currie couldn't concentrate. He lost his train of thought midway through
sentences. Then came the dizziness, nausea, and a tingle that seemed to stretch
from one side of his brain to the other.
Currie worked every day in his newly-renovated century home
under the looming shadow of the Union Street water tower, which since fall has
had a Rogers cell phone antennae on top of it. His family was due to move into
the home earlier this year. Instead, he packed his office and worked out of the
family's temporary apartment on Evergreen Hill Road.
At first, Currie was skeptical that the tower could cause his
illness. His wife had heard about the potential problems of radiation exposure.
He thought it might be the power of suggestion. But the more he looked into it,
the more neighbours he encountered with similar health problems, some of whom
didn't even know the antennae was there. He gets ill when he is near the tower.
Each time he walks away, it takes longer to recover. He has had blood tests, an
ultrasound and a CAT scan. No doctor seems to know what is wrong with him.
Currie knows evidence of the health effects of such antennae
is inconclusive. He knows Norfolk County followed Health Canada guidelines when
leasing the space at the top of the water tower. But if there is even a chance
that it is making him and others sick, he wants it moved.
"I am mad. I am angry," he said. "I may have to put a for sale
sign on my home. And how could I in good conscience let someone else move in?"
He will also not move his three children, aged seven to 14,
into the home that has been in his family for more than 20 years. Some research
suggests the effects can be more serious for children, including higher
incidence of childhood leukemia.
The tower is also near two elementary schools, a hospital and
a nursing home. Reports say Elgin Avenue Public School is more than 100 metres
from the tower. At recess, though, children play on the grassy slope that
nearly reaches the tower's base.
On Tuesday night, with a staff report in hand, Norfolk
councillors will vote on whether to move the antennae. The report, submitted by
public works manager Eric D'Hondt and Glen Steen from the Haldimand-Norfolk
Health Unit's healthy environmental team, recommends leaving it there. It also
says the county has no escape clause in its lease agreement with Rogers
Wireless. The best it could do is ask Rogers to voluntarily move it, which
Rogers has said it will not do.
Requesting Rogers to remove the equipment, the report says,
could impact "not only other telecommunications equipment installations on the
Simcoe water tower but also the telecommunications equipment installed on other
county water towers." These leases mean revenue for the water and wastewater
division. The health unit has also concluded that there is no conclusive
evidence such towers, by current standards, are health hazards.
Currie said it is the health unit's responsibility to consider
the people who are already ill, and to err on the side of caution.
"I still have faith in council and that councillors will do
the right thing," he said. "All we're asking is to not take the chance with me
and my kids."
* * * *
Currie and David Cole, a Simcoe Composite School law teacher
who has been using the issue as a lesson in grassroots activism for his
students, now have a chart.
The names are cut off so as not to reveal individual
identities, but along the top are symptoms. Abdominal pain. Itching and
burning. Mood swings and depression. Floaters and spots on the eyes. Underneath
is a check mark for each Simcoe resident experiencing the ailments since the
antennae has been installed. Fatigue: three. Nausea: three. Headaches: nine.
"We've talked to everybody," Cole said. "I've spent time on
porches and in living rooms, listening to the symptoms. It was remarkable how
many people repeated similar things."
The team has an ally in Magda Havas, Trent University
professor and expert in cell phone tower radiation effects. She likens cell
phone tower radiation to asbestos.
"In the future," she said, "we're going to look back at this
era and say 'why did we ignore that data?'"
Health Canada regulations have been followed in the Simcoe
case, but Health Canada regulations are lax, she said.
"Our guidelines aren't there to protect us from prolonged
exposure, they're there to protect flesh from heating up in the microwave," she
said. "They're based on dead meat, not living people."
Regulations and research are lacking because it is a highly
political issue with money and modern conveniences at stake.
"A lot needs to be done," she said.
* * * *
Health Canada has reviewed and re-reviewed its regulation,
which is Safety Code 6. In 1996, The Royal Society Panel looked hard at it,
then updated its findings in 2001. The conclusion is the same - when it comes
to knowing for sure the health affects, there is no conclusion.
Simcoe councillor Peter Black will chair Tuesday's meeting. He
does not fault staff or the health department, and will keep an open mind.
"The health department has to rely on the factual scientific
evidence out there," he said. "Our authority says we are within regulatory
standards. I guess it's up to us as councillors to look at the anecdotal
evidence and see if that's enough to employ the precautionary principle."
Representatives from Rogers and the health unit were not
available yesterday. Rogers confirmed that a representative will be at
‘SIMCOE CELLPHONE TOWER TO BE MOVED; NEIGHBOURS COMPLAINT OF ILLNESS.’ BRANTFORD
EXPOSITOR, June 08. 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Simcoe cellphone tower to be moved; Neighbours complaint of illness
Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - 01:00
Local News - Norfolk councillors have decided to get rid of a cellphone tower in
the centre of Simcoe that residents say is a health risk.
After hearing from more than 20 people in an often emotional five-hour debate
Tuesday, council voted to move recently installed Rogers Wireless Inc. antennae
on the Simcoe water tower - even though it could cost the county an estimated
"I'm proud to be a resident of Norfolk County," said Dan Currie, who first
raised the issue in February, shortly after the antennae were installed.
"Council was receptive and concerned about the welfare of its citizens," said
Currie, who has been unable to live in his century home on Union Street because
of symptoms such as nausea, headaches, fatigue and dizziness that he says are
caused by the cell tower.
"I was fine before the antennae went up and I'm fine when I'm not at home," he
Students in the senior law class at Simcoe Composite School did a survey of
residents in the area - which is close to Elgin Avenue School and Norfolk
General Hospital - and discovered several more residents with similar symptoms.
To date, 17 people have reported recurring illnesses since the cell tower was
Staff said there's no conclusive evidence linking radio frequency waves with
illness. And they noted that the cell tower meets federal health and safety
regulations in regard to exposure levels.
But Mayor Rita Kalmbach said she'd rather err on the side of caution when it
comes to people's health.
"When I hear people say they only get sick at home, when they're close to the
tower, I have to believe there's something to this," she said.
"I believe we have to do what is right and good. But it is going to cost all the
people of Norfolk County considerable money."
Just how much money isn't clear. When Kalmbach asked a Rogers representative
about the possibility of getting out of the lease before the March 31, 2008,
expiry date, Jack Hills said that will be up to the company's lawyers to
He was also non-committal about the possibility that Rogers might voluntarily
move its cell tower to another site.
"It's not our policy," he said, adding that the tower is operating within
guidelines set by Health Canada and Industry Canada.
"The alleged fear can be mitigated by the guidelines."
Hills also noted that Rogers has many other telecommunications towers that are
close to hospitals and schools. Some, in fact, are on top of schools.
However, Magna Havas, an environmental scientist at Trent University, told
council that Canada's guidelines aren't as stringent as those in other
countries. She cited studies that show an increased risk of cancer, as well as
symptoms such as headaches, insomnia and nausea, when people live within 400
metres of a cell tower.
"I think there's enough evidence to cause a concern. I recommend not allowing
antennae within 400 metres of schools, homes or buildings where people work."
Havas said she is particularly concerned about the risk to students at Elgin
because children are more vulnerable to developing cancer than adults.
Council directed staff to begin negotiating a way out of the lease agreement as
soon as possible. County manager Bill Allcock said that process will begin this
week but he's not sure how long it will take before the cell tower finds a new
home - or what the cost will be to taxpayers. He said Rogers will have to find
an alternate location before the antennae can be removed.
Coun. Roger Geysens voted in favour of moving the cell tower but he warned that
this might be the start of similar requests from other county residents who
live near cell towers.
"I certainly don't want to put children at risk but there's not very many places
in Norfolk County where you're not gong to be within 400 metres of some
"I think we're asking for some very difficult times."
‘CAMPAIGN BREWS OVER SECOND CELL TOWER.’ SIMCOE REFORMER, June 08, 2006.
Campaign brews over second cell tower
Residents encouraged by council decision to move Rogers tower
The Simcoe Reformer - Families in the south end of Simcoe are
deciding whether to make an issue of the microwave cellphone antenna in their
Residents in the area of Ireland Road are encouraged by
Norfolk council's decision this week to order the removal of a microwave
cellphone antenna from the Simcoe water tower at the west end of Union Street.
The Rogers Wireless antenna in that case was installed late
last year. The 100-metre Bell Cellular tower behind Sprucedale Youth Centre and
secondary school near Boswell Street was erected in late 1997.
"Oh yeah, what we'll probably do is go around and get another
petition," says Brad Cronkwright, who lives on Ireland Road near the
intersection with Decou Road.
Cronkwright gathered a petition against the tower and
presented it to the former Simcoe council nearly 10 years ago. Simcoe council
chose not to get involved, saying telecommunications issues are a federal
Like the dozens of concerned community members who crammed the
council chamber at Governor Simcoe Square this week, residents in the southeast
part of Simcoe are concerned about the potential health effects of microwave
cell tower transmissions.
Chris Cronkwright, wife of Brad, says there's an unusually
large number of people in the neighbourhood suffering from cancer.
And as with the Union Street-Elgin Avenue situation, a number
of residents complain of vague symptoms such as headaches, sleep disorders,
mood swings, depression, aches, pains and the like. Some wonder if the Bell
tower is to blame.
Chris Cronkwright herself beat cancer more than 10 years ago
and intends to keep it that way. She's disturbed that her three young sons
complain regularly of headaches.
"It's an ongoing problem," she said. "Nothing seems to be
Neighbour Lori Ernst also wonders if microwave cell towers are
especially bad for young people. She noted that young people are concentrated
in the neighbourhood at Sprucedale, Lynndale Heights Public School and St.
Joseph's School on Oakwood Avenue.
"I have kids playing outside all the time," Ernst said
yesterday. "If there is any kind of risk, I want it taken down."
Ernst added that she's developed spots within her field of
vision since the tower went up.
The situation regarding the Bell tower is significantly
different from the Rogers Wireless tower that was ordered removed this week.
The Bell tower is located on private property. As well, Bell owns all the
infrastructure on the land.
Ken Glasser of National Antenna in Elmira was site foreman for
the Bell project in 1997.
Nine years ago, he dismissed theories that microwave
transmissions cause illness as "a bunch of hocus pocus." He noted at the time
that the broadcast unit at the top of the Bell tower was rated at eight watts.
Glasser said this is substantially less than the 10,000 watts associated with
typical FM radio broadcast towers.
"If the seal on the door of your microwave (oven) isn't
perfect, you'll get a lot more radiation from there than you will from this
tower," he said. "Most microwave ovens are driven by a 100-watt system. There
is just no comparison."
Osprey Media - Brantford Expositor - Print Version - Story ID 62763
Printed from www.brantfordexpositor.ca web site Thursday, June 08, 2006 - ©
2006 Brantford Expositor