City of Kimberley to Reconsider Location of New Radio Tower After Public Opposition

Artist rendering of the proposed communications tower in Kimberley. (All images supplied by City of Kimberley)

Over a dozen residents wrote to Kimberley City Council to voice their opposition to the proposed EMS/Public Works Radio Tower due to archaeological and sightly concerns.

At their March 11th council meeting, the City of Kimberley proposed building a new radio communications tower.

"It's going to enable us to collect data remotely from our pumping stations and provide other communication services to the fire hall down in Marysville, for example," explains Mayor Don McCormick, "So you know, it's basically going to save us time, save us money, and at the end of the day, that's good news for the taxpayers."

In the time since that, however, 13 people wrote to the city in opposition to the idea, which was presented to council on May 13th.

The main concern is the proposed location. It would be built along Jim Ogilvie Way in the Benchlands near the Volksmarch trail.

Resident Lynn Beaupre told the city that she understands the need for the tower, so she is not opposed to the tower itself, but is opposed to the location.

Faith Mikkelsen asked if the City of Kimberley had followed through with a recommendation from the B.C. Government's Archaeology Branch that "an Archaeological Impact Assessment be performed in advance of any development on the Marysville Benchlands, the proposed site for a radio tower?"

Ian Tamasi, an Archaeologist with Tipi Mountain Eco-Cultural Services, added that this area, in particular, does have the potential for precontact archaeological resources "due to the prominence of this locality, the gravel core of the terrace (good drainage), southern solar aspect, proximity to stone tool stock, and age of the landform (likely available for human use throughout the Holocene)."

Former City Councillor Bev Middlebrook, who was part of the effort to stop a section of the Benchlands from being re-zoned to light industrial, believes that this tower "also affects the people who live below, the light, the sight, and the ugliest of this foreign eyesore. As well as the health concerns, property values declining, disturbing rare species fescue, light pollution, indigenous values and archaeological sites."

In response to the letters, McCormick says the City will reconsider the tower's location.

"When we get feedback from the public, both staff and council take that very seriously. We've asked staff to go back and take a look at what the three or four best options were. We're going to have a look at that and make a final decision on where it's going to go in the near future."

Other possible locations include the Marysville Arena and Purcell Park area, as well as a couple of spots in the Forest Crowne area.

Audio: Don McCormick, Mayor, City of Kimberley

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