Rossland Radio request on hold

Council puts request on hold pending more information

Rossland council put Marty Cancilla’s request to move a 17-meter tower for Rossland Radio to the Rotary Health building, on hold, pending more information.

The radio co-op moved to the city-owned Rotary building from its former site next to K2 Contracting (the old police station) but have only been able to operate their antenna and transmitter from five meters. Moving the unused tower would provide an additional 12 meters boosting signal strength and coverage, Cancilla said.

He also asked the city to provide an in-kind donation of services to help dig the hole for the placement of the tower’s footings, which was estimated to cost about $1300.

Council first moved to deny the request at Monday night’s meeting, but councillor Kathy Moore said she wants more information first.

“I’d like to give them a public meeting,” she said. “I don’t think it’s that bad a place.”

Mayor Greg Granstrom was concerned about the height of the antenna.

“It’s very, very high and could be obstructive to the neighbourhood.”

A staff report indicated concerns in respect to the condition and long term plans for the building, as well as the esthetics of moving the tower so close to the Miners Hall, a significant heritage site.

Rossland Radio has a lease on the Columbia Avenue property until Feb. 28, 2013.

Councillor Laurie Charleton wanted to deny the request outright.

“We don’t know how long the city will have that building or how long they’d be there,” he said. “Rather than move the tower down there, find another place – Red Mountain or Deer Park Hill, for instance. Then they could apply for a (Community Initiative) grant to get a better repeater. It makes more sense than moving the tower.”

Moore wanted to know if the tower had to be that high and wondered what neighbours would think.

In the end, the request was referred to staff to address the issues raised.

Cancilla was happy Tuesday morning to hear council hadn’t flatly refused his request.

“I’m definitely going to talk to all neighbours,” he said.

The Rossland Radio Cooperative was formed in 2004 and began on-line streaming a year later.

The station can be streamed at www.rosslandradio.com or heard at FM 101.1 from 3 to 11 p.m. daily.

“The radio is an open forum, soapbox, new music, religious shows, music: blues, Indie. Students do shows and get training,” Cancilla said.

But the Rotary building is right across from a huge rock.

“The biggest reason to do this is to increase the reception. We have a license for a five-watt signal and just got approval for 20 watt and longer hours.”

He said the station lost a lot of listeners after moving to its new location.

“A 17-meter increase in height would improve reception . . . It’s more about geography and elevation.

“We have a transmitter and enough cable and antenna to go up there and wouldn’t need a repeater.

Cancilla looks forward to eventually getting reception down to Trail; and is not opposed to placing the tower elsewhere and seeking grants for a repeater.

“I want to work with the city to help Rossland Radio achieve its potential.”