Wireless Communication Facilities

In December 2012, the City adopted a Wireless Communication Design and Consultation Policy to establish design and consultation guidelines for applications for wireless facilities in the City. This includes rooftop installations and tower proposals, on private and public property including City lands, streetlights, streetscape and local utility poles. This policy was established to provide clarity for residents and applicants on future proposals. The policy also directs new installations to the higher density areas of the City as well as commercial and industrial lands.

A process is currently underway to align the policy with the 2014 Official Community Plan. This process will result in an update to the overall policy and streamlining of the most common application type with the implementation of Rooftop Antenna Development Permit Area Guidelines.

Dramatic growth in the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices that use phone, text and data for everything from email to videos is outpacing the existing wireless network capacity in the City. Existing sites which once provided reliable service have become less effective when faced with higher demand volumes and gaps in service are increasing.

In addition, the licensing of wireless spectrum across the country has seen an increase in re-purposing of underutilized licenses adding capacity to the industry. The result of both of these trends is an increased demand for service sites in the form of requests for small antenna installations on streetlights or elsewhere in the streetscape, to rooftop antennas on private buildings to stand alone towers. The most common form in the City is rooftop antennas.

Federal standards have been established for health and safety in relation to safe human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. This is regulated by Health Canada, through Safety Code 6.

Local governments do not have the authority nor expertise to comment on this standard. In some instances local Health Authorities have chosen to provide a statement on this topic. A copy of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Statement prepared for the City of Vancouver has been included below for reference.

In December 2012, the City adopted a Wireless Communication Design and Consultation Policy to establish design and consultation guidelines for applications for wireless facilities in the City. This includes rooftop installations and tower proposals, on private and public property including City lands, streetlights, streetscape and local utility poles. This policy was established to provide clarity for residents and applicants on future proposals.

The Wireless policy currently functions in addition to other local regulations such as the Zoning Bylaw which provides height limits for structures not to be exceeded by third party wireless facility installations. The most frequent applications in the City are for rooftop antennas on existing private buildings. Most applications require a Development Variance Permit which involves Council approval.

With the design and consultation guidelines now well established, the process is being streamlined with the implementation of Rooftop Development Permit Area Guidelines. The adoption of this new regulation would enable issuance of a Development Permit by staff for applications in compliance with the guidelines. More complex proposals are addressed in the overarching Wireless Communication Design and Consultation Policy.

Why Are Wireless Communication Facilities Needed?

Dramatic growth in the use of smartphones, tablets and other devices that use phone, text and data for everything from email to videos is outpacing the existing wireless network capacity in the City. Existing sites which once provided reliable service have become less effective when faced with higher demand volumes and gaps in service are increasing.

In addition, the licensing of wireless spectrum across the country has seen an increase in re-purposing of underutilized licenses adding capacity to the industry. The result of both of these trends is an increased demand for service sites in the form of requests for small antenna installations on streetlights or elsewhere in the streetscape, to rooftop antennas on private buildings to stand alone towers. The most common form in the City is rooftop antennas.

What about Health and Safety?

Federal standards have been established for health and safety in relation to safe human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. This is regulated by Health Canada, through Safety Code 6.

Local governments do not have the authority nor expertise to comment on this standard. In some instances local Health Authorities have chosen to provide a statement on this topic. A copy of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Statement prepared for the City of Vancouver has been included below for reference.

What is the City's Policy on Installations?

In December 2012, the City adopted a Wireless Communication Design and Consultation Policy to establish design and consultation guidelines for applications for wireless facilities in the City. This includes rooftop installations and tower proposals, on private and public property including City lands, streetlights, streetscape and local utility poles. This policy was established to provide clarity for residents and applicants on future proposals.

The Wireless policy currently functions in addition to other local regulations such as the Zoning Bylaw which provides height limits for structures not to be exceeded by third party wireless facility installations. The most frequent applications in the City are for rooftop antennas on existing private buildings. Most applications require a Development Variance Permit which involves Council approval.

With the design and consultation guidelines now well established, the process is being streamlined with the implementation of Rooftop Development Permit Area Guidelines. The adoption of this new regulation would enable issuance of a Development Permit by staff for applications in compliance with the guidelines. More complex proposals are addressed in the overarching Wireless Communication Design and Consultation Policy.


Contact Info

Planning Department
Phone: 604-983-7357
Email: planning@cnv.org
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