PENTICTON - The debate around smart meters in the South Okanagan was recharged following a director’s motion at a Regional District Okanagan SImilkameen board meeting last week.
Electoral area 'D' Director Tom Siddon introduced a motion calling for a moratorium on smart meter installation in his area, inciting what Siddon called 'a worthwhile debate' amongst the directors.
Siddon noted more than 60 municipalities, regional districts and First Nation governments in B.C. have already called for a moratorium on mandatory installation of smart meters until an opt-out option is made available. He said smart meters currently being installed in his electoral area were being installed without the consent of the homeowner, and were not UL or CSA certified.
The Heritage Hills-Lakeshore Highlands Resident’s Association unanimously adopted a motion in December 2014 requesting the regional district pass a resolution opposing the installation of smart meters in area 'D.'
Siddon noted more than 230 residents of the South Okanagan-Similkameen have signed a petition in recent weeks calling on the district to decline approval for any installation of smart meters until safety and human health risks have been clearly disproven by scientific fact.
“I think the directors felt it was important to discuss the issues related to smart meters,” Siddon said following discussion over the motion, which passed, unamended, by a vote of 12-5. “Some people might say I’m off my rocker for supporting this, but if someone doesn’t speak up, how will these issues be addressed? There are a lot of people in area 'D' who are concerned about this.“
Citizens in the Similkameen also expressed their concern last week, when a small group of protestors met in front of Keremeos Village Office to condemn Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer for voting against Siddon’s motion. The rally then circled the town, returning to the village office.
The regional district will now petition Premier Christy Clark, Minister of Health Terry Lake, and the Chief Medical Officer of B.C. to 'acknowledge the real and rapidly increasing dangers of wireless radiation in all forms.'
The petition will also request acknowledgement that 'current exposure guidelines based on Health Canada’s Safety Code six, are outdated and inappropriate and do not protect citizens of the (regional district), or indeed all British Columbians, from serious chronic health effects resulting from long term exposure to increasingly hazardous levels of wireless electromagnetic radiation.'
The motion also requests the B.C. Utilities Commission to immediately cease installation of smart meters in the regional district, in addition to removing all those currently installed in area 'D,' at Fortis’ cost.
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