Council members divided over next steps of smart meter issue

Some officials want to hear from B.C. Hydro while others want an opt-out process for devices

Vernon Coun. Bob Spiers wants residents to have the right to opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes.

Vernon Coun. Bob Spiers wants residents to have the right to opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes.

There was considerable static among Vernon politicians  Monday as they debated smart meters.

Coun. Bob Spiers wanted the city to urge B.C. Hydro to allow households to opt out of the installation of remote monitoring devices but most of his colleagues want to hear from the corporation first.

“We as a council need to educate ourselves and to do that, we need to hear from the other side,” said Coun. Brian Quiring referring to a March 12 delegation from  Citizens for Safe Technology which called for smart meters to be banned in Vernon.

A presentation from Hydro was also supported by Coun. Patrick Nicol.

“I’m hopeful that some change may take place (in company policy) if we follow  through the process,” he said.

“We need to keep the dialogue open with the people you want change from.”

While some members from Citizens for Safe Technology wanted a council decision Monday, Nicol told them that the city must follow a balanced approach.

“We just don’t listen to one side, jump in and go for it,” he said.

Spiers says council could have still met with Hydro to discuss a possible ban but council was within its rights to ask for an opt-out clause for metres.

“Our citizens should have a right to refuse these things,” he said of concerns the remote devices could possible create health concerns and invade privacy.

“We don’t have to accept cell phones. I can throw microwaves out. It’s a matter of choice.”

Spiers was backed by Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“We were asked by our citizens to deal with it,” she said of the issue.

Besides B.C. Hydro, council has asked for a presentation from the medical health officer on the possible impact of smart meters.

 

Vernon Morning Star

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