By Korie Marshall
Telus has announced the completion of two new cell towers between McBride and Prince George, providing wireless service to 26 kilometers of Highway 16.
One site near Goat River provides coverage to Crescent Spur and over 10 kilometers of Highway 16. The second site provides coverage to the community of Dome Creek and over 16 kilometers of Highway 16 between Penny and Dome Mountain. Ken Kehoe, owner of a property in Dome Creek, says the two towers provide great coverage on his mobile electronic devices. He says it is a welcome service, both for emergency coverage for highway travelers and for business and tourism users in the area, like hunters, sledders, heliskiiers and visitors to the Ancient Forest.
The investment of $1.5 million by Telus for these two towers is part of a 10 year partnership with the Province to provide wireless coverage to 1,700 kilometers of unconnected highways throughout BC.
Telus also notes that anyone in the coverage areas with a Telus wi-fi equipped device would have access to the internet through their towers.
Liz Suave, spokesperson for Telus says the tower in Dunster announced last winter is under construction, with completion scheduled for 2014. Andy Shepherd, a Dunster resident, says it looks like the tower is just about complete. He says he is happy to have the tower, but is still concerned that internet service will be expensive.
Lelani Arris, president of the Dunster Community Association says that some people seem to be shocked by the tower that has gone up so quickly in the parking lot of the Community Hall. She says both the Community Association and Telus lease the land from the Ministry of Transportation and Innovation, but if the community had been against the placement of the tower when they were informed about it over a year ago, she would have been on-side with them to try to do something about it. She says most residents agreed they were for it, if it would improve cell service, but she thinks the community may not have been prepared for how the 100 foot tower changes the look of the landscape and how it will affect parking and snow removal at the hall.