The Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers, a group of Canadians and Americans leading the effort to stop the construction of five 150-foot AM radio towers in Point Roberts near their shared border, have celebrated a well-earned victory, according to a Dec. 2, 2015 press release.
For more than two years, this grass roots organization has fought against an installation which offered no benefit to the host community, but was deliberately designed to reach a large radio audience in Metro Vancouver, BC, while insuring disruption of electronics, communications systems and internet services in Point Roberts and neighboring Tsawwassen, BC. A construction permit for the project was approved by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Industry Canada had no objections based on possible interference with Canadian AM radio stations, but it still required a conditional use permit (CUP) from Whatcom County for construction to begin.
The Coalition launched a legal campaign to stop the CUP from being issued on the basis that the structure exceeded the Special District zoning height limitation of 25 feet (45 feet with a waiver). After clear rulings by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner, the Whatcom County Council and the Superior Court of Washington State, that the height regulation prohibited the issuance of the CUP, BBC Broadcasting, Inc. failed to file a timely appeal which amounted to their abandoning the project. Thus potential long-term health effects were also averted.
“We are gratified that our small communities have prevailed in a case where we were out-gunned and out-spent. This win shows what can be done when ordinary citizens of two countries unite behind a common cause—in this case to protect our quality of life and health from an unwanted tower array on our shared peninsula,” said Jennifer Urquhart, Coalition treasurer, in the press release.
The Coalition, with the help of hundreds of volunteers and donors of funds, time and in-kind services, was able to drive this effort to a successful conclusion. Total legal costs are estimated at about $250,000, about $15,000 of which still needs to be raised.
In addition to the effort at the County level, a Petition to Deny the renewal of BBC Broadcasting’s license was filed with the FCC and is still under consideration.. For more information or to donate, go to www.notowers.webs.com.
“Building a Coalition to Take on Goliath,” by Arthur S. Reber, Whatcom Watch, Jan. 2015.