urban development encroaching transmitter towers - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-11, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 415
urban development encroaching transmitter towers

I find it remarkable how close subdivisions of homes are being built next to huge, well-established TV transmitter towers with little to no setback.

CTV London's tower is positioned only about 200 to 300 feet away from the backyards of dozens of homes that were built decades after the tower was erected. The tower itself is over 1000 feet tall, so imagine the unlikely scenario that it collapsed, say, like when a small plane crashed into CTV Barrie's tower in 1977: dozens or even hundreds of houses would be within a radius of danger. And what about chunks of ice falling from the tower during winter seasons... isn't that a problem for those living practically underneath that tower?

Recent aerial imagery shows that CHCH's tower is getting hemmed in by new residential sprawl, too. Speculation is the former CBLFT-8 tower near St. Agatha is facing the same pressure, after CBC sold it to Turris a year ago.

I'm surprised that municipalities have permitted development right beside very tall transmission towers that are averaging 60 years old. The structures will soon need replacement (CTV Kitchener's tower was replaced in 2000 at age 44) and that'll surely be "fun" squeezing in all the equipment and safe working clearance without posing a construction hazard to neighbouring houses. Even if the masts were eventually demolished at Bell's corporate delight, they'd now have to be carefully dropped piece by piece, instead of toppled the easy way. Seems like all-around poor planning...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-11, 07:05 PM
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Well, my immediate response was “greed;” shareholder dividends, cushy salaries and perks for senior employees and executives, but running a large business isn’t an easy endeavour. Things get overlooked or postponed, especially when there is no legal mandate to maintain things as they should (would you pay your taxes when they said to if it wasn’t law?)

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-11, 09:16 PM
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Best lightning rod one can ask for...
Sitting under that umbrella not necessarily a bad thing.

Around here have seen some old towers from the 40s in the middle of the city get a 'trim',
presumably because they couldn't handle the load of today's modern loading standards any longer.

No different than the reverse, building of new sky scrapers in the middle of an already crowded Manhattan. Is done all the time...
You obviously need a crane.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-12, 10:34 AM
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Location: Kitchener, ON
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The logistics of installation/demolition/upkeep are one issue. For me, I'm also curious about the RF exposure. Though I see this all of the time with office or residential buildings with cellular installations on top or the side of the building, in close proximity to people. There's a reason most high power transmitters are installed in rural or sparsely populated areas.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-12, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 415
@majortom : True enough, but there aren't any 1000 foot tall highrises in Canada, especially not in suburbia, nor are buildings comparable to a guyed mast stick in the air.

I often wonder how well broadcast towers are inspected for structural integrity when near the end of their lifecycle. Not quite a fair comparison, but a former fire station in Kitchener was converted into affordable housing 15 years ago, and they left the old, rusty comm tower on the roof, seen from StreetView. @Jase88 , should we place bets that it'll come crashing down on its own, someday, because of negligence?

Speaking of tower demolition, here's a laugh and a half: Bell brought down a cluster of nine AM radio towers near Ayr in 2009, formerly serving their Oldies 1090 station in Waterloo. Satellite imagery shows the crumpled towers are still laying on the ground, a decade later. Literally looks like they just cut the guy wires and wiped their hands clean of any further responsibility for site cleanup. Don't they realize there's a heck of a value in scrap metal sitting on the ground?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-12, 10:59 AM
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There's a reason most high power transmitters are installed in rural or sparsely populated areas.
Yeah, it's called cheap land. I grew up near CHUM and CFRB. Back then that area was mainly farms and a bit of industry.

I haven't lost my mind. It's around here...somewhere...
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 2019-12-12, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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The CFPL tower is a white elephant. It was constructed when stations were allowed to reach 100+ miles and propagation into the US was not an issue. It was designed to cover the southwestern Ontario region with a very high powered signal that dominated TV broadcasting in the area. It was the only station that many London residents could receive. Ironically, the tower also held CATV antennas that provided competition to the station and helped contribute to its decline.

Times have changed and CFPL has been forced to reduce it's power dramatically and use a restricted broadcasting pattern to prevent interfering with stations in the US. It's time it came down but that will not happen under CTV ownership. They won't spend the money unless forced to do so. I remember when that tower was constructed. There was already some development in the area and a lot more planned. It went up in that location anyway. It replaced a 500' tower that was less than 20 years old. The 1000' tower is now about 50 years old and the station has been gutted of it's former role in the region. Yet the behemoth that is the 1000' tower remains. All other TV stations in the area operate from a much smaller tower in a less populated location on higher ground.
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