Article by Don Hudson, VE7SOX email ve7sox at rac dot ca
Submitted July 2009
The saga of my attempt to erect a reasonable antenna in Oak Bay goes back to when I was first licensed in 2004. I originally put up an Isotron antenna array on a 15 ft. mast. I did this under the Old Industry Canada (IC) regulations which allowed an antenna to be erected without going through the consultation process providing it was small enough to not create any community concern. The neighbourhood I live in is a 43 home development. To complicate the matter this development has a long list of covenants, one of which clearly states no antennas of any kind can be erected. However, this covenant has been violated for years by a number of residents putting satellite dishes on their roof. The attorney I discussed this with concluded it would no longer be considered valid.
About 6 months after I erected the antennas, I received a letter from Oak Bay saying that I was in violation of a by-law. I took the IC policy to Oak Bay and explained the IC regulations with regards to municipal by-laws. Oak Bay readily agreed that my antenna was not subject to the local by-laws, and amended their by-law to reflect the IC protocol. However, this one letter indicated that my small antenna had in fact generated community concern, so now I was faced with going through the consultation process. I felt that if I had to go through the process, then I might as well try to erect a tower and put up a decent yagi antenna. This proposal was met with total opposition by my neighbours which included petitions and individual letters written to the municipality and to IC. As well as opposition from my neighbours, my proposal was opposed by the municipal council who voiced their disapproval to IC. At the end of the process I asked IC what kind of antenna that I could erect that would provide better performance than the antennas I was using. The answer was simple, nothing else was allowed.
On January 1 2008 a new IC regulation was brought into effect. Part of this new regulation included an article that said if the height installation is less than 15m (49ft.) it was excluded from the consultation process. However, attached to that article is a caveat that says if the installation was in an area that could be defined as a community sensitive location it would not be excluded. In September 2008, with this 15m exclusion section in mind, I decided to erect a dipole at 10.6m (35ft), using aluminium poles. The first pole had been up for 3 days when IC phoned and asked what I was doing. I told them and they refused to exclude my antenna, and instructed me to go through the consultative process.
Oak Bay does not have a consultative process written into the by-laws; therefore, I followed IC’s default consultation process to the letter. The only exception to this was the IC regulation that describes the area that must be covered during the neighbourhood consultation process. IC regulations state that the area of notification must cover an area that is not less than 3 times the height of the structure.
In my case, that would have been 35ft.X 3 = 105 ft. basically the homes on either side of my QTH. IC said this was not a large enough area so I wound up notifying 10 neighbours. The results were similar to my first attempt with a petition opposing my proposal being circulated, letters of objections being written, and all these documents being sent to the municipality and to IC.
My presentation to council, which as a radio operator with Oak Bay Emergency Preparedness, included how my proposal would help Oak Bay in case of a disaster, met total opposition. There were people who signed the petition that could not possibly see my antenna. At the meeting, people spoke out in opposition to my proposal who hadn’t responded to my notification letter. There was 100 % opposition to my proposal. Oak Bay council communicated the community opposition, as well as their objections to IC.
However, the IC regulations state that the applicant must address all reasonable and relevant concerns, which I had done. Nothing in the regulations state that the applicant must have community/municipal support. Once I was satisfied that I had met all IC requirements, I sent them an information package containing a synopsis of everything I had done including pictures, site plan and a cover letter detailing all the concerns raised by my neighbours and my response to those concerns. I received an e-mail from IC saying that I had not notified the CRD of my proposal because one of the poles is on a water works right-of-way. The second issue was “there is no inclusion of any support for your proposal”
I dealt with these concerns quickly by notifying the CRD of my intention, and by writing IC stating
“In response to your comment that I had not included any letters of support, you are correct. In proceeding with my proposal I am following the protocol described by Industry Canada in their publication CPC-2-0-03, and unless I totally missed it, I could find nothing to suggest that I should solicit support for my antenna.”
“Accordingly, I feel I have fully met my obligations under CPC-2-0-03 and now ask Industry Canada to proceed and approve my proposal”
A short while later I received a letter from IC stating
“We thought it prudent to have you consult with your neighbours, the local land use authorities and the Capital Regional District’s Water Board so that everyone was aware of your activities.
As you are aware, from Client Procedure Circular’s ( CPC ) 2-0-03 exclusion section : ” a new antenna system including masts, towers or other antenna supporting structure, with a height of less than 15 metres above ground level” is excluded from consultation but must still fulfill] the General Requirements
outlined in section 7 of the CPC. CPC 2-0-03 “Radiocommunication and Broadcasting
Antenna Systems” is available online at :
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng /h_sf 06136.html
As your proposal meets the exclusion criteria, a decision from Industry Canada will not be required to install.”
Draw whatever conclusion you wish from my experience, but in my opinion, you must follow IC directions to go through a consultation process, be it the default IC protocol or a consultative process written into a municipal by-law, and providing your proposed installation is less than 15 m and there are no outstanding reasonable and relevant concerns, you should be able to erect your antenna support structure.
The only suggestions I can offer are: be patient, (the process is not quick) be meticulous with your paperwork, answer all concerns as honestly as you can, and keep the explanations simple so the non-amateur can understand. You may find this process frustrating, but be sure you keep frustration out of the letters you write. I feel it is important to remember that you never know who will read your letters. I always try to remain cognizant of how I am coming across to people who might read my letters. Be sure that you meet all applicable timelines. Remember, you are the person who has a right to pursue your hobby, and you are just going through the steps so everyone knows what is going on. Above all you are a professional and could well be considered to represent a large fraternity of amateur radio enthusiasts.
If you would like to discuss this issue further for any reason, please contact me at VE7SOX at rac dot ca and we can arrange a talk.