Letter to CTV, Aug. 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                    818 Bexhill Place 

                                                                                                                                                                                   Victoria, BC V9C 3V5

                                                                                                                                                                                   August 5, 2008

Mr. Ivan Fecan President and CEO

 CTV globemedia

 9 Channel Nine Court

Scarborough, Ontario M1S 4B5

 Dear Mr. Fecan.

I am writing to you as someone responsible for the ethical behaviour of CTV globemedia, and for the action or inaction of that company which may cause harm to the public. “The (Business) Code reinforces the Company’s commitment to a working environment in which people are respected and the need of the community that it serves are met…. Ethical behaviour, however, goes beyond compliance with the law. It involves thinking through the possible impact of our decisions on all interested parties — business and joint venture partners, customers, employees and their unions, the communities in which we live and work….even when not required to do so from a legal or regulatory point of view… . Consequently…we must rely on our internal sense of what is right — our moral compass– to guide us in making the right decision.”

You, as President of CTV, are responsible for these laudable words and wise intentions. I believe that CTV globemedia has acted contrary to its Conduct Guidelines, and you, Sir, must also be considered responsible. After I present the facts of the situation, I hope that you will be eager to tell me that you and CTV want to act immediately to rectify this wrongdoing, and will do what is right, morally, for the community in which you work.

In 2000 Seacoast Communications erected an FM tower with a transmitter on Triangle Mountain in the middle of a settled residential neighbourhood, and within 1 kilometer of an elementary school. This transmitter operates at the frequency of 107.3 Mhz, with output capacity of 20,000 watts. In addition, there is an STL at 955.125 Mhz. This was erected at the same time and very close to another tower with transmitters operated by Rogers Communications.

Ever since the new towers and transmitters were put into place, residents from as far away as a kilometer have experienced “harmful interference” which has not been rectified. We have lived with electronic equipment not working, music over-riding conversations on phones, electric beds opening and closing during the night, garage door openers which will not function — these are but a few examples. We have complained and continue to do so.

And, until recently we, the residents, suspected the radiation from the transmitters was causing health problems but had no proof. Many people suffer nightsweats, insomnia, headaches, memory loss, skin rashes,immune deficiencies, chronic fatigue, sinustitis, tremors, flu-like symptoms, multiple miscarriages, infertility, cataracts, and cancer. In most instances doctors have been unable to find the cause, although some physicians have suggested the transmitters were somehow responsible. There have been credible scientific studies for many years indicating that the symptoms we are experiencing relate to exposure to this radiation. There even have been studies which demonstrate that long-term, chronic exposure to electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range of your FM transmitter puts constant stress on the cells, causing DNA damage which can lead to cancer. Even though Seacoast, Health Canada and Industry Canada had access to these studies, nothing was done to protect the public in general or the residents on Triangle Mountain specifically. Instead, Seacoast erected a new tower with additional and more powerful transmitters in the middle of our densely settled neighbourhood. The closest home is 30 meters from the towers — I know of no others in North America which are as close. The rationale for ignoring the health hazard was Safety Code 6. Even after other countries acknowledged the scientific data and reduced their safety standards many times lower than Safety Code 6, Industry Canada and Seacoast initially and now CTV globe media have hidden behind it.

But now we too have become familiar with these studies and realize that our fears and suspicions were justified. Even though your radiation levels may be below the maximum set by Health Canada, the evidence is overwhelming that the radiation causes or contributes to our health problems. CTV has broken no laws, and we are not accusing your company of doing so. Unfortunately, the guidelines in Canada are poor and allow this problem to exist. But now that the evidence is readily available to any and all, CTV globemedia has the opportunity to prove that it adheres to its code of conduct by moving the towers to a non-residential neighbourhood. You can lead the way and say your company wants to be a good corporate citizen by applying the precautionary principle — if there is a chance of people being harmed, the source of that potential harm should be removed.

There is a site readily available which your engineers along with Industry Canada surveyed on Mount MacDonald. Gary Paugh, Director of Industry Canada, Vancouver Island District, advised that this site was satisfactory to the broadcasters currently on Triangle Mountain in all respects, and even better in some. In a letter from then Minister of Industry David Emerson, dated May 16, 2005, to Mayor Twa of Colwood, suggested that the cost for the broadcasters to move would be approximately $3 million. I have been told that at a subsequent meeting between the broadcasters and the City, suggestions were made that the cost would have to be borne entirely by the residents of Colwood. Many would think that unreasonable, given that the citizens of Colwood played no part in your transmitter and tower being brought to Triangle Mountain; the former owner of your station and Industry Canada did. And who benefits from the transmitters being on Triangle Mountain? Certainly not the citizens of Colwood.

Sir, I am presenting to you a situation which is untenable for us, one which CTV globemedia can readily remedy. We have suffered inconvenience in the form of harmful interference for 8 years. Many are now suffering ill-health which is consistent with effects of constant, long-term exposure to radiation as established by credible scientific studies such as the 2000 published in the BioInitiative Report, August 2007. (www.BioInitiave.org) This cannot continue and for the sake of our families and neighbours, we are asking you to do the right thing by voluntarily moving the towers away from our homes and schools.

As you may have heard or seen, we have been speaking with the media, directing our frustration primarily at Industry Canada for its lax standards and failure to monitor as required under current guidelines. In so doing, we have been careful to avoid holding broadcasters responsible and have not brought your company’s name into the debate. We are hoping you will take this opportunity to show good-will, to move without prejudice, and, as a consequence, receive the plaudits of a grateful community. As summer ends, the momentum for the campaign to end this dangerous and unhappy situation is beginning to increase. It would be wonderful if we could announce at our Sept. 15 meeting that CTV has decided, on its own, to move from Triangle Mountain. We look forward to hearing your response.

Yours truly,

Sharon Noble

Co-Chair, CAUSE (Citizens Against UnSafe Emissions)

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