Judge rejects appeal over Border Antennae
Residents claim victory in U.S. court
by Sandor Gyarmati, Delta Optimist
October 9, 2015
Wednesday brought another victory for residents on both sides of the border fighting a proposal to erect radio transmission towers in Point Roberts.
A Skagit County Superior Court judge dismissed an appeal by BBC Broadcasting Inc. to overturn a decision by Whatcom County to reject the company’s application to erect five 45-metre (150-foot) steel towers at an undeveloped lot on McKenzie Way, about 330 metres from the Tsawwassen border. It was rejected because the towers exceeded height limits in the American peninsula.
The company filed an appeal, arguing the antenna would be a utility that would provide “vital public services” for Point Roberts.
The towers would have transmitted South Asian radio station KRPI, AM 1550, which broadcasts from studios in Richmond for a Lower Mainland audience. Also known as Sher-E-Punjab AM 1550, the station currently broadcasts using antenna in Ferndale, but wanted to relocate them for a stronger all-day signal.
Concerned about electrical interference and health impacts, residents on both sides of the border have been fighting on several fronts for more than two years, including arguing the application approved by the FCC was fraudulent because a map submitted by the applicant left out Tsawwassen. Residents also gathered a petition with thousands of signatures asking Ottawa to intervene. A liaison for MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay and the Cross Border Coalition, Tsawwassen resident Ulf Ottho attended Wednesday’s court proceeding on behalf of the MP, along with roughly 50 members of the coalition as well as Corporation of Delta staff.
Ottho said the judge immediately issued her ruling after the submissions, listing several reasons to uphold the Whatcom County decision, including the fact there are alternative sites available in Whatcom County that don’t have height restrictions.
Ottho noted the company has 30 days to appeal but in his view the decision was carefully explained and is “appeal proof.”
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