Tower opponents looking to replenish legal chest

By Meg Olson

As the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers heads into round three in their opposition to a proposed tower farm on the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way, they are rallying the troops.

“We need people to come out to events, we need people to donate,” said coalition member Jennifer Urquhart.

At the March 10 meeting of the Point Roberts Community Advisory Committee (PRCAC) Arthur Reber reported on the latest move by BBC Broadcasting Inc., which has applied to build the array of five AM radio transmission towers. The county hearing examiner first denied the company’s application because the towers did not meet height restrictions and no exemption to those rules exists in county code. Whatcom County Council upheld that decision and the applicants have now appealed it to Skagit County Superior Court.

“They are using the Land Use Petition Act which allows them to say the use of the land is being inappropriately interpreted by Whatcom County,” Reber said. “The process is long, it’s painful and it’s expensive.”

While Whatcom County attorneys will defend the council decision as the appeal moves forward, Reber said the coalition was determined to have their own attorney present to ensure “a vigorous defense,” given his track record with the hearing examiner and county council.

“We are not going to stop fighting the construction of these towers,” Urquhart said. “The coalition is definitely in it for the long haul, but we continue to need the help of both communities.”

To pay for the next round, Urquhart said the coalition is looking to raise an additional $75,000, and several informational and fundraising events are coming up.

On March 31 at 7 p.m. at the Tsawwassen United Church a town hall meeting will feature updates on the legal battle and new information about the possible impacts of the towers, if built. “We have someone who will speak on the effects of electromagnetic radiation,” Urquhart said. Coalition members will also be encouraging people to visit their website at notowers.webs.com to learn more and make a donation to the legal fund.

In June, the group is holding an art and travel auction at the Harris Barn in Ladner to raise money for legal bills, and is looking for donors. “The coalition is seeking donations of all kinds of art – paintings, prints, sculpture, tapestries, photography and even wearable art – to auction off with six impressive travel prizes,” Urquhart said. Donors can contact Beth Gunderson at bethgunderson@gmail.com.

At the recent PRCAC meeting, chair and voters association president Joel Lantz said the association was also planning a fundraiser to help fill up the coalition’s war chest, to be announced at their upcoming annual general meeting April 9.

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