Call sign EORT [End of Radio Towers]?

 

By Meg Olson

Members of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Towers are celebrating what they hope is the end of their long battle to stop the construction of a radio tower farm on the Point.

“This is great news!” said Mark Robbins, a coalition member and president of the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association.

In a declaration filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) November 12, 2015, BBC Broadcasting Inc. president Bagh Singh Khela stated the company did not intend to continue its appeal of Whatcom County’s refusal to allow the project to go ahead.

On October 7 a superior court judge in Skagit County upheld the decision by the Whatcom County Hearing Examiner to deny BBC’s application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to build an array of five 150’ radio towers on the corner of Tyee Drive and McKenzie Way. The hearing examiner’s decision hinged on height restrictions, and the lack of county code that would exempt a radio tower from those restrictions. The company has until November 30 to appeal that decision.

“In theory, they could still change their mind but this looks pretty final to me,” Robbins said.

The declaration was filed as part of supplemental information the company submitted in support of their application to renew its FCC broadcast license. The renewal has been pending since 2013, faced with a formal objection filed by the Point Roberts Taxpayers’ Association and several informal objections from opponents of the project.

BBC Broadcasting is asking for “dismissal of all petitions to deny and informal objections” to its license so that it can continue to operate the Punjabi radio station KRPI from its current location in Ferndale.

“Attorneys to the radio station have complained we’re pursuing this as a back door to oppose their construction permit (which was approved by the FCC in 2009),” Robbins said. “Our argument is, they are separate issues. The connection is that in our investigation to oppose the construction permit and the CUP we found information that their broadcast license shouldn’t be renewed.”

There are two arguments in the taxpayers’ association’s petition to deny the license. “We feel they have been essentially alien-controlled,” Robbins said, referring to the Canadian station Sher-E-Punjab. “There’s ample evidence they still are.”

In addition, “They have demonstrated a lack of candor” in their submissions to the FCC and the county, Robbins said. For example, engineering documents did not acknowledge the existence of Tsawwassen on the other side of the border, indicating that the closest town was Ladner.

“We believe they should not be entitled to a license,” Robbins said. “We share the radio station’s view the issue of the license renewal should be resolved, but we stand by our objections.”

  1. Outstanding news!

    Hopefully, there will not be any last minute dirty-tricks.
    I expect that BBC inc & its “core group,” which provided massive aid to the Liberal Party of Canada in the recent federal elections, will pursue a “sweet-heart deal” on locating those towers in British Columbia.

    Reply
  2. Folks please don’t get too excited yet.. The lawyers for BBC Broadcasting Inc submitted a Supplemental Statement of BBC Broadcasting Inc to the FCC, not a declaration, not a judgement, simply a request to the FCC. There is no decision or judgement connected to this request. In this supplemental BBC B Inc says “it does not intend to appeal” the Superior Courts decision to deny. That is not the same as ‘will not appeal’ the Superior Courts decision to deny. BBC B Inc has until Nov 30th to file the appeal. We here at the Coalition prefer to wait for that date. Over 2 years of wrangling with BBC B Inc has taught us to be patient and wait. BBC B Inc has historically waited until the deadline to make an appeal. Their chief concern is their FCC Broadcast license renewal being granted. Should the Superior Court deadline pass without an appeal then we will be assured of the towers not being built in Point Roberts. We are still pursuing the denial of license renewal by the FCC. We will still submit a Text Amendment in County Council to limit the height of towers in Point Roberts’ special district. The Coalition is thorough in it’s service to Point Roberts and Tsawwassen and we still need your financial support to pay legal bills outstanding. Please go to http://notowers.webs.com if you feel our efforts are worthy of your generosity.

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