Ensure new Winnipeg developments have enough cell towers, rookie councillor says – Manitoba

Coun. Matt Allard says Winnipeg must change its planning framework to ensure enough cellphone towers rise in new neighbourhoods to meet the demand for emergency service.

The rookie St. Boniface councillor says the the integrity of Winnipeg’s 911 service is threatened by insufficient mobile service at a time when many residents are getting rid of landlines.

To that end, Allard moved a motion at city council on Wednesday to ask city planners to “consider cell reception as part of planning for new developments” and change development guidelines in older neighbourhoods to “include direction for the placement of cellphone towers” near residential homes or apartment buildings.

“In some communities in Winnipeg, there actually is little to no cellphone service and so if you need to call 911, maybe you can’t. So if you’re having a heart attack, perhaps you would not be able to use that cellphone as you would anywhere else in the city to get that emergency service,” Allard said in an interview.

Paramedics rely on mobile service to send hospitals time-sensitive information about cardiac patients, he added.

“If they can’t upload that information in a timely manner, I think it’s obvious that this is a safety concern in terms of the provision of emergency services.”

Allard’s motion was referred automatically to council’s planning, property and development committee.

Council opposition fails in access maneuver

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman and his allies on city council quashed an opposition motion to pry more information out of city officials.

Council voted 10-6 on Wednesday to defeat a motion that would have required senior public servants to meet with councillors to provide information about reports prior to votes at council and committee meetings.

South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes authored the motion after complaining she was denied information by chief administrative officer Doug McNeil.

She only convinced five…

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