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Saanich watching outcome of B.C. municipalities discussion on smart meter moratorium

Local politicians are taking note of the backlash against B.C. Hydro’s installation of smart meters.

Representatives from the province’s municipalities are gathering this week to discuss a province-wide moratorium on the installation of smart meters. In Saanich, the municiaplity’s environmental committee is being flooded with complaints from residents concerned about potential associated health risks.

"Local government has the responsibility to protect its residents' health and security," wrote Leona Sutherland in a letter to Saanich. "(I) ask that you use your authority to raise our concerns to the Minister of Health."

Sutherland is expected to make a presentation to the committee on Tuesday, highlighting the inconclusive evidence surrounding the health and security issues that some believe are associated with the wireless meters that B.C. Hydro is installing on homes and businesses around the province.

Despite reassurances from the Crown corporation, some people are concerned that electromagnetic radiation emitted by the wireless devices can adversely affect people's health.

"Since June the emails have been mountainous," said committee chair Coun. Vicki Sanders. "It's been just weekly, daily people are contacting us about smart meters. … They feel that there hasn't been an adequate examination or review to see if there are health issues, especially since the World Health Organization said guardedly that there could be."

Sanders acknowledged that the committee will likely wait to find out whether the moratorium resolution passes at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference before making any decisions.

"Staff is tracking what's going on provincially with this. Adding our name to the pile, as far as making a (moratorium) recommendation from council wasn't going to give that resolution any more weight," Sanders said.

Sanders said the challenge with smart meters is that residents are expecting expediency, as B.C. Hydro is installing the meters in the Capital Region right now.

"Our goal with these issues would be to spend some time on it, researching it," she said. "But we'll have to look at this more in the light of the request that people are lobbying, which is a moratorium."

The UBCM conference runs all this week, ending Friday (Sept. 30).

– with files from Black  Press

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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