People on both sides of the Point Roberts border are escalating a campaign to stop large transmission towers from being erected in the small U.S. community for a Richmond radio station.
A group is planning a public protest for Dec. 1 against the five 45-metre towers after the proposal failed to mention Canadians living as close as a kilometre and a half away.
Members of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers say they worry the towers are so close they could cause blanket interference that could affect the radios, TVs, phones and baby monitors of up to 20,000 Tsawwassen residents.
"We're objecting to the fact that in their application process nowhere did they mention that Tsawwassen would be across the border and be impacted," said retired engineer James Ronback, an opponent of the towers set to transmit radio station KRPI, also known as Sher-E-Punjab AM 1550.
The towers are awaiting approval from Whatcom County after being OK'd last year by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Studies showed no adverse environmental impacts to Whatcom County or its population.
The proposal was approved by Industry Canada because it wouldn't interfere with any other Canadian stations, but Ronback said the federal department didn't consider the blanket interference the towers could create for him and his neighbours.
Andrew Skotdal, a consultant for the radio station, said the Tsawwassen residents weren't included in site maps and proposals because KRPI was following the rules of Whatcom County, under which it was only obligated to consider residents of that jurisdiction.
Skotdal said fears of blanket radio interference are misplaced and that "a certain amount of reality has been lost in this process." He noted that CBC's AM 690 broadcasts an arguably stronger signal from similar towers near the homes of northwestern Steveston.
KRPI will hire an engineer to modify or replace - free of charge - any Tsawwassen residents' appliances and devices affected by radio interference, he said.
Whatcom County's planning department is expected to release its recommendation on the proposal early next year.
Suzanne Rosser, a Point Roberts resident, said she will keep drumming up opposition to the towers because the FCC and Industry Canada ignored her neighbours to the north.
"Neither one of these institutions looked at a map and said, 'Hey what about these people?'With files from Sandor Gyarmati, The Delta Optimist