Trust Documents Reveal Deeply Flawed Tower Process | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

Trust Documents Reveal Deeply Flawed Tower Process

NO to proposed Rogers cell tower radiation blanketing Hornby's forests


Expanded Edition

by William Thomas

On June 10, 2022, a Toronto-based telecom giant taking in more than $12 billion/year approached the Islands Trust, K’ómoks First Nation, ISED and the provincial government with plans to erect a 68-meter-tall telecommunications tower on Hornby, off Canada’s west coast. Curiously, nobody onboard this officially-designated “environmentally sensitive” island was notified of this latest assault by a Roger’s “stirke team".    

      Our defeat of the Telus tower in 2017 taught telcos an important lesson concerning the dangers of effective community consultation. This time around, local residents and our Local Trust Committee were carefully not advised of the Rogers proposal. Despite the controversy surrounding the Telus bid, over the next six months the former Islands Trust Planner “forgot” to inform Hornby’s trustees of this even more contentious scheme. Even when they shared the same room.

     Secretive consultations between the Trust executive and Rogers continued until a public notice appeared in the November 23, Comox Valley Record. That same day, after being alerted to the Rogers announcement by a local resident, trustee Alex Allen emailed Rogers front-man, Brian Gregg:

     “First, I am quite dismayed that I and my fellow local government representative, Grant Scott, have only just heard of the Rogers Cell Tower proposal from community members in the last two days. This is completely unacceptable. The timing is so wrong and way too fast tracked. So many people are now traveling off island in the next month. 

     “A virtual meeting in December and the deadline for comments January 13? That is, with all due respect, ridiculous. And the virtual information meeting is December 6 where Grant and I have a Zoom Trust Council for three days starting on that day. No communication let alone consultation with either of us.”

     The outraged Hornby trustee requested that this unexpected application be shelved “until at least March 2023.” 

     “I think the best course of action at this stage is to proceed with the process,” Gregg replied.

     What process?


Responding to growing demands for a public meeting, on Jan. 9, SitePath Consulting’s Brian Gregg declared that no face-to-face information exchange would take place. “Rogers has been required to follow the ISED Default Consultation Process which does not include any requirement for a public meeting,” this corporate consultant declared. 

     This was not true. Besides mandating full community consultation, these federal standards (CPC-2-0-03 Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems) require Rogers to adhere to Hornby’s Antenna Siting Model, which additionally mandates public meetings with the proponent. After this siting model was adopted by the Hornby LTC on Sept. 9, 2023, Regional Planning Manager Kauer noted: “The Model Strategy federally compels companies to engage in extensive public consultation before installation of cell towers.” 

     ISED is the rebranded Industry Canada arm of the federal government. Interestingly, on April 22, 2023, Navdeep Bains was rewarded as Rogers’ chief “corporate affairs” officer  after working diligently for six years on behalf of Rogers and other Canadian telcos as the Canadian minister in charge of ISED. As towers marched across the Canadian landscape like tripod invaders from War of the Worlds, that same period, 2015-2021, saw a surge in Manitoba’s wireless rates following a Bains-approved merger, the appointment of “disastrous” CRTC Chair Ian Scott (himself a former Telus executive), and the overruling of the CRTC’s fair wholesale rates — which “disappeared" a huge share of Canada’s independent Internet Service Providers. 

     “Bains’ new career calls into question his whole term as Minister,” Open/Media reports. “When did he first start seeing himself as more of a future Rogers executive than a deputy of the Canadian public? How do we know current ISED Minister Champagne isn’t considering the same jump one day?”

     And who can say how much Champagne Rogers is enjoying right now?


On Jan. 6, 2023, Gregg emailed a longtime Hornby resident: “We will have to confirm whether the protocol was properly adopted and whether it has any implications going forward.”

     Translation: “While continuing to ignore these pesky federally required protocols, we are looking to see if these local requirements can be challenged. Or if they even pertain to us.”

     Three days later, Gregg informed another local resident that Rogers might look at the model siting protocols they find palatable. But probably not.

     “We heard about the Model Strategy but are not clear on what steps would need to be added to the process if we incorporate aspects of that into the process. But as of this time we are following the ISED [industry-approved] process.” 


One of the most damaging canards promulgated by ISED, is that this federal body can override local decisions to ban cell towers. During email correspondence with  Vancouver Island Safe Tech Alliance’s Suzanne Schiller (January 24 to March 2, 2023) ISED’s Vancouver Island District Office manager, Bernie Ries was unable to provide any “legislative authority to override provincial legislation governing land use.” 

     Instead, Ries confirmed in writing that local governments have the authority to set their own telecommunications procedures and make “informed decisions” in the public’s interest when deciding whether or not to grant a letter of concurrence for a proposed cell tower. Speaking for ISED, Ries stressed the need and responsibility of local governments to “undertake public consultation” with residents who will bear the direct impacts of those towers.  

     "We have been in contact with individuals and community groups all over our region,” Schiller wrote back. “The primary concern they have expressed is, first and foremost, protecting the health of people, wildlife, and the environment. If ISED is truly consultative, it will amend [regulation] CPC-2-0-03 to include health-related concerns within the category of 'reasonable and relevant concerns' addressed during the public consultation process." 

     But the ISED official was unable to provide the evidence ISED relies upon to allegedly “consider” the effects of spreading electrosmog “on the surrounding environment.” In fact, as a Freedom of Information filing by VISTA discovered, ISED has zero “evidentiary basis for considering the environment.”   



From a Trust document dump, we now learn that Rogers initially proposed placing their ersatz Eiffel tower “closer to the co-op in a more visible location” than the Telus tower.

     When a resident subsequently complained that a hasty relocation “is also considered as the site for affordable housing, and the area required for the tower could be needed for septic fields or water wells,” Gregg replied that “there is no reason that it cannot accommodate a communication site and housing or other uses” within that tower’s most powerfully radiating radius

Fake photo-simulation hides full height of proposed cell tower


When another Hornby resident complained that the suggested location near the old firehall was under consideration for affordable housing, Gregg replied, “there is no reason that it cannot accommodate” an intensely radiating “communication site.” 

     He soothingly suggested that some “cedar fencing” and “possibly some native species landscaping” might enhance the appearance of an industrial structure towering over Hornby’s forests and central core.

     “We live in a rural area and many of us want to keep it that way,” a 33-year Hornby resident informed Gregg. “I did not come to Hornby for its technical advancements, but for the opposite.”

Fate of a Linden Tree exposed to cell tower frequencies -German study


“Has there been an environmental assessment by a neutral body? asked another local. “Where can I read the report?”

     “ISED advises us that such tower proposals will not cause significant adverse effects,” Gregg demurred, ignoring studies showing that, just like humans, bees and trees are receiving antennas for electromagnetic fields.    

     “Impacts are quite minimal,” Gregg gaslighted, despite receiving a nine-year technical/visual study in two German cities showing how low-power “electromagnetic frequencies from telecommunications towers alter the growth and development of trees” up to 900 meters away.

     Where is the evidence backing such biased beliefs? Thousands of peer-reviewed studies and countless online accounts from those suffering adverse health effects from exposure to electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation argue otherwise. 

     Rogers’ shill continued: “We were advised that since our tower is not on federal land, there is no need for an environmental assessment.”

     Since this tower would continuously irradiate our land, in carrying out its mandate to “preserve and protect the natural environment of its territories”, the Trust is bound to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment by an independent EMF expert before further consideration is given to this application.

Fire crews battle brushfire ignited by a burning cell phone tower along Highway 401 in Scarborough, Ontario (March 31, 2021) -OPP

Fire crews battle brushfire ignited by a burning cell phone tower along Highway 401 in Scarborough, Ontario (March 31, 2021) -OPP


Another Hornby resident inquired “about the possibility of fire caused by malfunction of the tower’s electronics. If an electrical fire spreads to the surrounding forest on our very vulnerable summer-dry island, it will immediately be a severe island-wide emergency.”

     “We are not aware that cell towers are a significant or common source of fires,” Gregg dodged, ignoring this gratuitous additional fire hazard from a difficult-to-access, multi-frequency electrical installation next to steep, thickly forested slopes.   


Good luck seeking redress. The Concerned Residents of Hornby Island have learned that the Trust carries no insurance for EMFs. Perhaps because no insurer will cover electromagnetic field liabilities. Responding to a FOIA-related request by this writer, on Aug. 31, 2023, our new and much improved Trust Planner, Nadine Mourao wrote:

     “For clarification, the 390 pages quoted on the attached fee letter for our file HO-FOI-17-2023 does not include copies of insurance. Islands Trust do not have any insurance coverage for electromagnetic radiation and/or coverage relating to liabilities arising from damages of injuries caused by the exposure of persons and/or habitat to continual electromagnetic radiation emitted by telecommunications towers sited in the Trust Conservancy territories, including Hornby Island. This includes wildfires started by faulty equipment or maintenance.”  

     Scientific American warns that “overall risk of harm from RFR may increase substantially” from simultaneous synergistic exposures to multiple types of Radio-Frequency Radiation. Yet, on page 54 of the Trust Memorandum, we learn: “The tower will house numerous panel antennas and dishes in support of a variety of communication technologies.”

     Will house?


In 2023, Rogers chief executive, Tony Staffieri pledged to invest $1 billion driving dangerous RF, microwaves and millimeter waves into every Canadian chest and noggin — especially those in Western Canada. Staffieri spent nearly a month “out west”, meeting with Rogers staffers and local governments. Again, Hornby Island’s residents and local governing body were denied this exciting news.


On Jan. 6, Daniel Siegal complained that local protocols were still being ignored: 

Hi Brian

"There have been too many places where correct protocol has not produced the desired results. This includes the fact that our trustees had not been informed of the application when you went to the Islands Trust staff. 

     "There is also the “Model Strategy for Antenna Systems” which was passed by the Hornby LTC on September 29 of last year which didn’t seem to be part of what you knew in advance. 

     "The glitches in the process which led to its being presented to Hornby residents close to the winter holidays made this an inopportune time for our community to deal with yet another major change being proposed for our island. 

     "Many year-round residents are away at this time of year. Further, our community is dealing with many profound changes already (including a housing shortage, the pending arrival of fibre optics, and significant proposed changes to our OCP). 

     "It therefore seems that this is not the right time or approach and I suggest that Rogers withdraw the application for now and allow our community to work on the issues we are already facing.” 

     This rabbi’s plea was shunned.

Safety Code 6 mannequin, "Sam Phantom” is a sickening joke  -thermoguy.com

Safety Code 6 mannequin, "Sam Phantom” is a sickening joke  -thermoguy.com


“We were told the tower would not carry 5G frequency. At least not at the beginning, but since the aim of Rogers is to cover Canada with 5G, as stated on their webpage, we can expect 5G to be implemented in the future,” a local resident emailed Gregg last January, before these responses were closed. “Even those people who see no harm in 3G,4G frequencies will balk at having 5G in their neighbourhood. Safety code 6 is totally outdated and may not apply to 5G.”

     During the most recent revision of this industry-protecting “safety” code, two highly qualified consultants resigned over the close financial ties between the overseeing Health Canada board and its director with the telecom industry. Their long-obsolete guidelines are based solely on strapping a cellphone to a plastic head to see if it melts.

     Meanwhile, industry-captured “regulators” steadfastly ignore the myriad non-thermal effects of artificial electromagnetic fields — extensively documented since the 1950s. Nor has Health Canada looked at the impacts of powerful electromagnetic radiations on ecological communities as tightly interwoven as bee colonies, nesting birds or community gardens. 

     Neither Health Canada nor its sponsoring telcos have conducted any safety tests on 5G. Nada. Zero. Zip. This industry-dictated “safety code” claims that short 5th Generation millimeter waves are equivalent to 4G microwaves. 

     They are not. The electrically regulated human body/brain operates at 62 to 68 cycles-per-second. Your wireless router jams these intracellular signals at 5 billion+ cycles/second. Tower-fed 5G small cell transmitters placed every 200-300 feet perpetually emit 24-300 billion jagged electromagnetic spikes every second.

     Despite local 5G bans across the EU and USA, on Jan. 8, Brian Gregg confirmed that Rogers intends to bring this unprecedented menace to Hornby. All Rogers cell towers “will host the latest technologies at some point,” he threatened. 

     Meanwhile, “Rogers is welcoming applications for co-location,” with TELUS expressing “preliminary interest in leasing tower space for their transmitters” here.  

     Even more curious is the timing of the Hornby community’s overwhelming vote for a fibre-optic network, and Roger’s initial pivot towards erecting a 5G-capable tower here that would depend on this “backhaul” of fibre-supplied high-speed data.

     Yet, on Jan. 12, Brian Gregg assured a Hornby resident that the Rogers proposal “has no relationship to the fibre optic project that you have referenced.”

Hornby visitor using her cellphone on Big Trib -Will Thomas photo

Hornby visitor using her cellphone on Big Trib -Will Thomas photo


“Cell phone coverage is already available in many areas throughout Hornby Island,” yet another correspondent challenged. “In addition, City West is in the process of bringing vastly improved internet coverage, via fiber optic cable, to every Hornby Island residence that wants it.”

     Cellphone aficionados on Denman and Hornby need only look up. Rogers’ partnership with Elon Musk has already brought full Starlink coverage overhead. Lynk Global will further expand Rogers’ satellite phone service in 2024.

     So why this unwanted cell tower that’s already redundant before it’s never built?

Signs in Pittsfield, USA echo Hornby concerns -Patrick Dodson/ ProPublica



2. Trust Planner, Nadine Mourao email to William Thomas 


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