SIMCOE CELL TOWER INITIATIVE
Environment and Resource Studies Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario
PowerPoint presentation (Pdf)
Resident ~ Tyrell Street, Simcoe, Ontario
Resident ~ Tyrell Street, Simcoe, Ontario
Ronald A. Beckett
Resident ~ Tyrell Street, Simcoe, Ontario
Resident ~ Bellevue Avenue, Simcoe, Ontario
More depositions to come. Please check back again.
SIMCOE RESIDENTS' RESPONSE TO INDUSTRY CANADA'S PRESENTATION
October 23rd, 2007
Written and presented by Anca Gaston
MA Candidate, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University
PowerPoint presentation (Pdf)
INDUSTRY CANADA'S REPORT
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Presented by: DONNA WOODCOCK
Mayor Travale, Councillors and Neighbours, Good Evening.
My name is Donna and I live within 100 metres of the cell tower on the Union Street water tower and I want it moved to a less residential area.
I have come to council tonight to ask for your assistance in this matter.
Many people in my neighbourhood believe that many of our recent health problems are related to the cell tower. I am speaking to you about my health, my husband’s health, but mostly about the health of my close neighbours, .......people in this community whom you represent.
Personally, I experience frequent headaches, vision problems and loss of balance and have recently seen a specialist concerning these health problems. He could not find any physical reasons for these symptoms.
My sleep has also been disrupted. I bought new pillows and replaced a perfectly good mattress in search of sleep.
After a couple of months I bought another even more expensive mattress. Still I had nightly sleep disruptions.
Finally I consulted my Physician and unfortunately am now on medication and experiencing some side effects.
Interestingly, I travel frequently and never have a sleeping problem while away from my home. Many neighbours also find that their symptoms diminish or completely disappear when they are away from our neighbourhood and reappear upon their return home.
My husband Frank suffers from high blood pressure, disrupted sleep, lack of concentration and has had cancer within the last year. Conditions he did not experienced in the past.
And now I want to tell you about the health of some of my neighbours because I believe it is important that you are informed of the number of your citizens in this neighbourhood who are unwell.
I will generally use only first names or initials because this is a public forum and I am disclosing some of their personal medical information. I can provide their full names in confidence.
The people I will tell you about live on the lower half of Tyrell Street and on Bellevue Street. Their homes are on part of only two of the streets that surround the water tower cell tower. Of course these are only the people that I know about. I know for a fact that there are many others suffering from various illnesses in the rest of the neighbourhood surrounding the cell tower.
Geoff suffers from headaches, lack of concentration, memory loss, high blood pressure and insomnia
Sue.... had surgery this summer for uterine cancer.
J.... a child has headaches, nausea and feelings of depression.
Brent has difficulty concentrating
Andrew has headaches, insomnia, depression and fatigue.
Mr. B. has headaches and dizziness.
Mabel has headaches and vertigo and is often nauseous.
Marg feels fatigued, has had cancer in the past and worries about a recurrence.
Another neighbour, is presently in remission from cancer.
Jackie suffers with headaches, nausea and fatigue.
Joan has sleep disruption, nausea, headaches, visual disruption, fatigue and has difficulty eating.
Ethel also has eating difficulties, buzzing in her ears and hearing problems.
Cecilia passed away this year from cancer.
Doris, Ralph and Leueen have had cancer in the past and worry about a recurrence.
John, has ringing in his ears and hearing problems and his wife has sleep disruptions.
Darlene experiences dizziness, memory loss, headaches, fatigue, hearing problems and depression.
Jen has headaches and fatigue.
Three young boys suffer from headaches and depression.
Another neighbour was sick for just three weeks and has now passed away.
Danielle has headaches and is often nauseous.
Donna, often feels fatigued, and has previous health problems that have worsened this year
Starr has eye pain, vision problems, dizziness and fatigue.
C. a child, experiences mood swings and depression.
George suffers from dizziness, nausea, irritability, fatigue, memory loss and loss of appetite.
M’s young wife has been constantly unwell since moving to Bellevue St last year.
Jim died of stomach cancer this year.
Ruth was cancer free for a number of years but now has aggressive cancer.
Krista ...is a young woman ....with two small children and she is presently recovering from esophagus cancer, a very unusual cancer in a young female
A. 30 years old has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Mr. B. became sick and on his death bed told his wife he believed the cell tower had made him sick.
On these two streets surrounding the cell tower we have a cluster of illnesses and a cluster of cancers (7 people).
If this list sounds ..unbelievable to you ...and I assure you that it is incomplete, I agree....... it does sound unbelievable that this many people on two blocks have this many illnesses .....and these are only the people I know about. ...........
Does this sound normal to you?
But as unbelievable as it sounds..... it is true...... and this is why we are concerned.......... and scared...... and want the cell tower moved.
I know that some of you on council have relatives and friends living on these two blocks who are experiencing symptoms which they believe are related to the cell tower.
What if your parents , your child or your grandchild lived near the tower and they were sick? ...... .
What if you lived under the cell tower and you were sick .....would you want it moved?
We are someone’s parent, and someone’s child and someone’s grandchild and we live near the cell tower ...and we are sick .... and we want it moved.
More and more of us are developing various symptoms and illnesses, we are on more medications and are using the health care system more frequently as each month passes.
Good health is important to the quality of our lives and yet when we ask for help the local health unit tells us that health issues related to the cell tower are not in their mandate. Health Canada tells us that it is a local issue to be dealt with by our local health unit.
What is to become of us if the cell tower is not moved?
Right now, I am really not concerned about the Science of cell towers.
I am really not concerned about the measurements that were taken.
And I certainly don’t care about Safety code 6
I do care about my health..... my husband’s health ....and the health of my neighbours.
We are asking for your help.
We want the cell tower moved and I am asking you to please reopen negotiations with Rogers to discuss relocating the cell tower to a more suitable location, away from homes, schools and the hospital.
Thank you for your time and for your consideration in this matter
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Presented by: FRANK WOODCOCK
Mayor, Councilors, Neighbours:
My name is Frank Woodcock and I live within 100 metres of the Union Street cell tower. I have been unable to find any official whether municipal, provincial or federal that can guarantee physical safety to my family, my neighbours or myself from the effects of electromagnetic radiation emanating from this tower.
I have sought assurances from several Norfolk Councillors, the Haldimand/Norfolk Health Unit, the director of the Grand Erie Board of Education, Jim Wibberley, my MPP, Toby Barrett, my MP, Diane Finley, the director of the Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau of Canada, Health Canada, Robert P Bradley, the Manager of Spectrum, Central and Western Ontario District, Industry Canada, Ron Wheeler with other beauraucrats in between. And not one of them can tell me it is safe to live within 300 metres of a cell tower. You would think this alone would activate the precautionary principle.
What I have been able to establish is the Union Street cell tower is a municipal and a federal problem.
A Norfolk official was of the opinion that since the Simcoe water tower had emergency services antennae attached, then the water tower was an existing tower. He believed an existing tower did not need planning approval. Jim McIntosh, Manager of Community Planning wrote to me, “I have checked with other planning staff and there is no recollection of any involvement with the cell tower on the water tower in Simcoe.” No wonder my neighbours were so upset when they found a cell tower in our midst without seeing any yellow public notice signs.
This certainly worked to the benefit of the cell tower provider because as it says in this pamphlet that we were all encouraged to read, “What should I do if I am concerned about a proposed tower in my community?” The answer, “Industry Canada recognizes that the local community may have concerns about the location of a radiocommunication tower. As a result, the Department requires proponents of significant antenna structures to consult with municipal land-use authorities. If you have concerns about a proposed tower in your community, you may wish to make your views known to your local municipal officials. Local concerns can be taken into consideration during the consultation process with the proponent of the radiocommunication facility.” It is ironic I’m asked to read this pamphlet but Norfolk officials don’t need to read it.
Perhaps you noticed Industry Canada’s use of the term “significant”. The water tower had emergency service antennae, now there is a commercial service antenna. According to this Industry Canada document presented to a previous Council the emergency services antenna used 42 Watts and the new commercial antenna uses 3042 Watts.
I call that significant.
The previous antennae were RF (radio frequencies) and the cell tower is microwave.
That is significant.
My neighbour Mr. Gates (Goetz) received good reception from his television aerial prior to the cell tower and afterwards lost reception.
Mr. Curry could live in his family house before the cell tower and after he couldn’t.
Mr. Curry and others are ill when in the presence of the cell tower but obtain relief when they’re away from it.
Canadians are protected from electromagnetic exposure by Industry Canada. They rely on Health Canada’s guideline, Safety Code 6 (SC6). Although neither Ministry will guarantee our safety living within 300 metres of the cell tower, they somehow protect us with SC6. In fact Mr. Wheeler told me this tower would easily pass SC6. He knows this because the CN Tower and 1st Canada Place, both bristling with antennae, pass SC6. Our tower is much less powerful than the CN Tower. Of course it will pass SC6. This is the same Mr. Wheeler who stood in these chambers and told us in his 30 year career with Industry Canada he does not know of any tower removed due to health risk
It turns out there was a nationally reported case in Vancouver in 1997. A cell tower provider made a deal with a church to rent space for a cell tower. The provider offered to donate a large cross to the church. Inside the cross they put 3 microwave transmitters. Citizens concerned about their health were able to get the tower removed. In 1998, a tower was removed in Calgary because of citizen’s health concerns. How a regional manager of Industry Canada could fail to be aware of these cases is very puzzling.
On talking to my neighbours I noticed a high incidence of illness in the neighbourhood. I asked Patti Moore, H/N Health Unit about the safety of the cell tower. The response I received was that it was not within the jurisdiction of the health unit. Surprisingly when I asked Health Canada, in particular, Robert P Bradley, he wrote it was the jurisdiction of the local health unit.
Mr. Bradley heads the bureau that oversees the development of SC6. His is a very busy department of scientists. I downloaded SC6 from the government web site and was surprised to find that of the references used in Safety Code 6, 29 are from the 1990’s, 14 from the 1980’s and 6 pre 1980. There are no references beyond 1999 when Canada experienced an explosion of cell tower construction and new electronic technology. In the whole SC6 document, the section on the biological effects of low-level microwave radiation reads as follows, “Biological effects of RF fields at levels too low to produce significant heating have also been reviewed (references 3 & 6). These effects are not well established, nor are their implications for human health sufficiently well understood. Thus, they cannot provide a basis for making recommendation towards the restriction of human exposures to such low-intensity RF fields.” That is it. Low level radiation only gets 3 sentences out of the entire document.
We are in these chambers because of non-thermal low-level radiation and there are only 2 references, #’s 3 and 6 out of 49 references. Reference 3 was written in 1993 and reference 6 in 1998. The latter was authored by Michael Repacholi, former manager of the WHO’s Radiation Program. He left the WHO amidst allegations of scandal and now works for the industry. Rapacholi was also involved in the 1993 study.
I’ve sent peer reviewed studies to Robert P. Bradley’s bureau dated after 1999. These show the negative effects of cell towers on nearby residents. Nothing may be happening at Canada’s Radiation Protection Bureau but events have certainly been happening since the council meeting in June. In the U.S., the Alaskan Supreme Court upheld awards for radiation injury below thermal exposure levels. A lady that was here took our binder back to Campbellville and has been successful in stopping a cell tower from being erected in her residential neighbourhood. On Long Island, N.Y. citizens are suing their village over siting cell towers on their water tower, which, by the way is in a residential area near a school.
Not 5 minutes after appearing on the CBC news I received a phone call from a lawyer. I told him of Industry Canada’s new siting protocol about consulting with residents and avoiding water towers and he was very interested in taking on our case.
Electro-hypersensitivity is now considered a disability in Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission has a new policy on Environmental Sensitivities. These two developments combined have allowed us to file a complaint that Louise Allen is presently processing.
As you can see we have come a long way from a local issue a year ago to a national one today. We have changed Industry Canada’s protocol for all of Canada.
I am presently drafting a letter to the Minister of Health Canada about SC6 being an outdated 1999 document that fails to take into account non-thermal low-level radiation. If not resolved we will take this issue to the Auditor General.
We originally wanted a made in Norfolk solution but events have taken us well beyond that.
What I would like to offer is our expertise. We have the information to help sever Norfolk’s lease with Roger’s at what I expect will be minimal cost.
I believe such a partnership can develop a solution that will mutually benefit Norfolk County.
We should consider such a partnership.
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Presented by: RONALD A. BECKETT
Your Worship and Members of Council:
In late June, Industry Canada officials conducted tests of the cell tower on Union Street and that WILL CONCLUDE that it is well within the present guidelines set forth by Safety Code 6.
"This equipment complies with strict health and safety standards" they will say, which means ONLY that the radiation is not strong enough to heat the body. According to Health Canada, as long as the radiation emitted doesn't raise the body temperature by 1 degree celsius in six minutes, it's considered safe." In otherwords, “as long as it doesn’t cook you, it’s fine.”
Exposure to radiation is bad. To use humans as an “experiment” is appalling. To argue levels in an attempt to determine how much radiation the average person can take is ridiculous.
The point remains that some people cannot even live in their homes, and others, like my father, have to restrict their activities to specific areas, usually indoors.
I think that it is safe to suggest that in light of the headaches, both literally and figuratively, that this has caused for everyone, there isn’t a single councilor, a single county official who, knowing what we now know, would have entered into this agreement having the chance to do it again. This was a mistake for sure, but one that still can be corrected.
It was corrected in Surrey, BC where a citizens group like this one prevented a Rogers installation on James Douglas School. But shortly afterwards, on a church next to the school, a cross appeared from an "anonymous donor.” Locals soon discovered that the "donor" was actually Rogers. A large group of residents and media gathered to witness the removal of the cell mast from the cross. What an embarrassing moment THAT must have been for the company.
It is ridiculous that private citizens are forced to conduct their own health investigations. The principle of precaution is precisely designed for just this kind of situation. It states that when observations indicate that there may be a harmful effect, the exposure to the suspicious harmful influence should be stopped until it has been well established that there is no causal connection. The burden of proof must lie on the industry and NOT on the victims.
This is an area that is fraught with controversy and to bring this controversy into the community is completely irresponsible.
On June 6, 2006, we stood here before a slightly different council and cited study after study and several news features. The local press accused us of using disreputable sources from the internet. These “disreputable” sources included the Cancer Prevention Society, Institute for Health and the Environment, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, CTV News, Global News and CBC’s Fifth Estate, and so on. Obviously, that statement was just silly and requires no further comment, but this kind of irresponsible reporting does have an influence on the uniformed. I trust that it doesn’t have an influence on this council.
You asked us to find experts and we have. We have cited their work. We have brought them here to speak to you. You asked us for medical support and we produced a letter from 11 local doctors.
You asked us for evidence of widespread community support and we produced signs on virtually every lawn on Tyrell and Bellevue.
If there are any authorities who would argue intelligently on the other side of this issue, I’d welcome the opportunity to meet with them and listen to their evidence and their discoveries. Let’s hear about similar installations where people are NOT sick. So far, nobody has produced one. If there is but one scrap of real evidence that could ally our fears, I haven’t seen it. Believe me…I’ve looked. None of us want this daily worry in our lives.
At last year’s meeting, after a number of concerned citizens had spoken, council diverted its attention to a handful of representatives from Rogers, Health Canada and Industry Canada.
Ron Wheeler, of Industry Canada was asked by then Councillor Whitworth “do you have the information of how many cell towers have been moved in Canada because of a perceived health risk?”
Mr. Wheeler replied: “to my knowledge we have not relocated any cell tower because of a health risk.”
The Councillor repeated: “then this would be the first?” to which Mr. Wheeler answered “this would be the first that I would be aware of and I’ve been with Industry Canada and the Department of Communications for 30 years.”
Robert Bradley of Health Canada, when asked the same question, acknowledged that there were pockets of concern, Milt Bowling being one that he is aware of. So I called Mr. Bowling who pointed to two instances of Rogers’ relocations and numerous site proposal cancellations all involving dealings with both Mr. Bradley and Industry Canada.
The question is “why”….. “WHY are these officials so reluctant to show their knowledge of previous cases like this?”
Why do they continue to be protective of industry? Of course the industries and government will deny. Denial is standard procedure of industry. Industry denied the health affects of smoking, asbestos and DDT long after the connections had been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. There are STILL those who deny. There is still a Flat Earth Society.
Tyrell and Bellevue are the streets where the vast majority of illnesses have been reported. It’s an area full of great folks - nice people like Starr Kennedy who doesn’t want her foster child to be exposed… Nice people like Dan Currie. I’ve been with Dan on his property and what happens to him the minute he walks onto that lot isn’t nice. I personally feel the effects immediately when I’m on Tyrell St. When I’m elsewhere, there’s no problem, just as there weren’t for several of the 71 residents complaining of health problems when they were away on summer vacations. When they returned, so did their symptoms.
Every one of those signs is on the lawn of a good person.
I ask the council to consider: What possible motivation do you think that we have for doing this? What could any of us possibly gain from this?
Perhaps my thinking is distorted as a result of spending a good portion of my life in compassionate environments like churches. Perhaps it is this background that causes me to cling to the hope that this council, and goodness knows, even THE corporate conglomerate itself will also prove to be humanitarians and ultimately view this matter with compassion and grace. I can appreciate how difficult your task is. I have tried to imagine what I would do if I were sitting in one of those chairs. I know what I’d do. I’d never take the chance that part of my legacy, as an elected official, could be that my pride, the other business in my life, my staff’s advice, whatever….got in the way of my making a responsible decision that could possibly have prevented illness and suffering or even death.
I would choose compassion over recklessness.
I would say as one councilor in this room said prior to passing last year’s motion asking Rogers to move the tower: “I do know that I am an elected official – my responsibility is to respond to the needs of our constituents. Our constituents are saying that they are sick and it is related to the cell tower. So with that in place, we should use the precautionary process here.”
Let our legacy instead be that we were cautious and concerned.
Just move it.
Ronald A. Beckett
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Presented by: GEOFF SALDANHA
Good evening Mayor Travele and councilors.
My name is GEOFF SALDANHA and I am a resident of Simcoe on Bellevue Ave for the past 27 years. My wife is Leueen and she is here today as well.
I am an Engineer by profession with a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering. For the past 33 years I have practiced my profession most of those years locally in the fields of Environmental Affairs including Risk, H&S, Energy, Regulatory Affairs and Community Relations.
When the cell tower first went up I must confess that I was skeptical and essentially disinterested. What bothered me was the clandestine way that it went up and maybe telegraphed some of the issues we face collectively today.
A little over a year ago I began with certain symptoms – started with headaches that did not respond to typical pain medication, then insomnia, and cognitive issues. For most of the first 6 months or so I coped. However subsequent to that I went to see my doctor. In him questioning me it became apparent that my symptoms would totally 100 % disappear when I left for extended periods and substantially on shorter 3-4 day business trips. Over the past year there have been 8 such opportunities. Even a day at work is noticeably better.
My doctor in doing his due diligence has prescribed medications and performed numerous tests ranging from blood work to allergy testing, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI. Given my skepticism in the first place I have gone through my house and its environs to look for the root cause. No changes.
Well after a year I have climbed down many rungs on the ladder of skepticism and point to the one significant change that has occurred where we live.Moving on to the issues:
- My wife Leueen has been cancer free for 10years. We are very concerned by the long term 10 year studies about cancer clusters. Wolfram König, President of the German Federal Agency for Radiation Protection, challenged all doctors of medicine to “collaborate actively in the assessment of the risk posed by cellular radiation, the aim of our study was to examine whether people living close to cellular transmitter antennas were exposed to a heightened risk of taking ill with malignant tumors.” The result of the study shows that the proportion of newly developing cancer cases was significantly higher among those patients who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400 metres from the cellular transmitter site, which has been in operation since 1993, compared to those patients living further away, and that the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier. The probability increased by a factor of 3. The tower in question fell within the German version of Safety Code 6.
These 5 and 10 year studies are now coming to the surface. It should be pointed out that many towers may be inherently safe while others may be unsafe.
- The issue here is this cell tower not the cell tower industry or any other tower. This cell tower is a problem notwithstanding that it passes Safety code 6 but because of where it is, its height, its intensity of radiation because it sits around a gigantic hunk of metal that amplifies the radiation. Remember technically intensity reduces by the square of the distance from the transmitter – fact of science. In other words a low tower is a disaster. This very tower is very low to the ground if you compare it to the Radical Road tower and to other similar significant towers.
- If I wear my regulatory hat, I see a problem for municipalities because SAFETY CODE 6 is a guideline. Had it been a regulation none of us would be here today.
- However SAFETY CODE 6, because it is a guideline requires the due diligence to be conducted by the municipality and the proponent. But that being the case it requires more due diligence not less. Industry Canada just provides the guideline. If it were a Regulation it would have been prescriptive. Industry Canada states, “Industry Canada expects that all concerned parties will examine the proposal, consider each others concerns and attempt to arrive at alternate solutions”. This was not done. Furthermore within the last week a key word in this Industry Canada document has been deleted. There is no record of a revision note and why. This is playing it loose.
- The Industry Canada website on Antenna Structures Home Page has a document listed “Canadian Municipalities and the Regulation of Radio Antenna and their Support Structures.” In this document whose purpose is not stated says: “despite the potential for negative health, safety and aesthetic impact, most antennae are sited with little or no objection”. On the same website which incidentally was dated Dec 2004 and I lead you to a brilliant comment and footnote # 54, the FCM or Federation of Canadian Municipalities comments and I quote “ should an applicant of a scarce commodity like radio frequency be free to determine on their own when the Government of Canada Policies apply?” In other words the fox is in charge of the hen house. This comment is both insightful and points to the problem here 3 years later. The Federation then recommends, and I point out again that this is 2004, “a clear workable definition of a significant structure OR CHANGE”. I could find no reference as of today of a published and documented definition on significant. I can assure you that Industry Canada has not taken the recommendations of the FCM seriously and that there is no definition of significant.
- In reviewing Rogers’ application document all I am willing to say about the attestation is that it is “very problematic”. A P. Eng signed it, which could pose more issues. This document cannot be doctored now and is in the public record.
- Health Canada FAQ dated 2002, which is now on the County’s website states “ Biomedical studies in Canada and other countries indicate that there is NO scientific or medical evidence that a person will experience adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency, provided that exposure is within the guidelines set out in SAFETY CODE 6. Well in 2000 there were in excess of 200 peer-reviewed studies, papers and publications in world-wide circulation. These were used in the T-Mobile ECOLOG Industry Sponsored Study. You can draw your own conclusion. I provide for you for your records the 16 pages with about 15 study headings per page for a total of greater than 200 that were in existence in 2000.
- The same 2002 FAQ says this “Scientific Studies on the biological effects of radio frequency are ongoing.” If it is so safe that there is NO evidence of adverse health studies, which is a bogus statement, then the fact that they are concerned about ongoing studies on biological effects makes me and the rest us lab rats and they want you the County to bear the risk. And when the manure hits the fan they will ask if you had done your due deligence as stated in SAFETY CODE 6. Remember these are the folks that were publicly castigated by the Kreaver Inquiry into the “tainted blood scandal” AND BLOOD IS SOMETHING YOU CAN SEE AND TEST.
- Regarding comments from people that don’t reside here.
“I’d live here”. My response is that is easy to say given that it will never happen. Moreover it signals insensitivity to the large number of people that are suffering adverse effects. Furthermore it begs the question “on what basis and research”. Safety Code 6.
In conclusion my opinion is that this issue has become one of significant adverse health and as a result, one of RISK. A large part of a community just don’t get non specific symptoms for no reason. This is not an issue of SAFETY CODE 6. The adverse health effects, which are most likely caused by this structure, its location, its height and amplification of microwave and radiofrequency radiation, will only be exacerbated with each passing day and has to be resolved in any case.
Risk is calculated by multiplying the probability of an event happening and the consequences of that event occurring. If the consequence is cancer and the probability is 3 times higher as Dr. Konig stated, then the risk rises exponentially. I would say that given the number of sick people today that the risk has already risen considerably. The risk also rises by what people know, information received, competence or incompetence (remember Walkerton), actions already taken, actions not taken or rescinded, and so on.
I would say that there is a very small window of opportunity, where the cost to the county may actually be lower or nil this year compared to last year, to resolve this because I believe that the County may still have one or two cards to play that will allow a graceful solution.
I for one would volunteer to sit on a stakeholder committee to help resolve this immediately. Just as an FYI in case you don’t know this. Safety Code 6 the standard of protection for thermal effects ONLY is set at “one thousand billion times higher than the natural radiation in the frequencies that reach us from the sun”