Protocols and plans and policies

Don’t care what you call it but local municipalities are creating documents that limit the height of amateur radio towers right across Canada.Unfortunately, the protocols, plans or policies – different names for the same restrictions – are not consistent varying from town to town.

For example, here in Oakville, following a very unfortunate situation a few years back where a new ham (don’t think he was a RAC member) installed a 48-foot tower on a townhouse-sized lot (my guess is the backyard was about 20 foot square) upsetting neighbours and politicians who swore they’d get the structure taken down and failed, all amateur radio towers are limited by “town policy” to 16.6 meters (54 feet). And trust me, nobody is going to issue a building permit allowing an exemption to go higher in this town. (However that means if the tower is less than 16.6 meters the Town of Oakville has no interest or concerns and won’t listen to complains from neighbours so this cuts both ways.)

Now comes word that the City of Winnipeg’s Council has approved (as of April 28, 2010) an Antenna Protocol which essentially limits antenna height to 69 feet and recommends towers aren’t installed on front lawns. Not bad. Wish we had similar height restrictions here on the north shore of Lake Ontario.

The Winnipeg protocol might prove useful if your community is looking to restrict your tower height.

And BTW before anyone starts pontificating about how local municipalities can’t create legislation that overrides federal legislation, they get around this by passing these protocols, plans and policies. It’s the same when it comes to distracted driving. Nobody is taking away your ability (and BTW it’s not a right) to operate your federally licensed radio while driving a car. What provinces can do is legislate that you drive hands-free whether you like it or not.

So if you want to change or fight any of these restrictive policies then renew your RAC membership (and do it for three years) and signup everybody in your ham radio club, contesting association or ARES group. You deserve a strong national voice at the federal and local level. RAC is the way to do it.

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