By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
A cellular tower proposed near the Oshawa habour has received council approval.
Signum Wireless is proposing the 35-metre (115 foot) tower at 1609 Simcoe Street South.
To the north of the approved site is the Oshawa Creek and city-owned lands where the former Oshawa Marina stood, while to the south is federal crown land for port uses, and privately-owned property at 1615 Simcoe Street South with above ground tanks.
To the east across the Oshawa Harbour lay lands used by the Oshawa Port Authority, and to the west is open spaces/parkland owned by the City of Oshawa.
Original plans called for the tower to be at 1175 Nelson Street near an automotive salvage yard at the southeast corner of Nelson Street and Wellington Avenue, north of Harbour Road.
However, a number of concerns about this location came forward during a public meeting in March 2017.
Signum proposed moving the tower to 1609 Simcoe Street South and requested an exemption from the public meeting requirement under Oshawa’s telecommunications policy.
The city denied the request in February 2018, and a public meeting took place in April 2019.
Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey was the lone opposing vote against approving the application. She believes once the tower is up, the complaints will roll in.
“The view it presents to people down at the lake is a significant detraction,” she said. However, Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson said the tower will improve cellular coverage in the city’s south end.
According to him, several locations received consideration over the years, including Lakeview Park itself, but were ultimately rejected.
“We’ve been trying to find locations to put a tower without negatively impacting neighbouring residents,” Nicholson said.
“Finally, we are able to find a location on former industrial lands… a sufficient distance away from park uses and residential uses.” Nicholson said the city adequately promoted the public meeting, to which one person showed up.
“If everyone that is impacted by it is okay [with it], then maybe it’s okay,” he said. Commissioner of development services Warren Munro said the terms of the lease with Signum are not yet finalized.