When a cellular carrier wishes to improve or expand coverage, there are regulations they need to adhere to.
One of the regulations stipulates that any cell tower 15 metres or taller needs to be preceded with are community notification. This means that carriers cannot just put up towers wherever they want without first notifying the neighbourhood. However, if the towers happen to be less than 15 metre, even by millimeters, no notification is required. Trust carriers to find a loophole.
CBC News recently ran a story of a Lisa Guglietti, a woman who noticed the Bell Canada building next door had eight of these “mini-towers” strapped to its chimney. Surprised she had not been notified, she found out there was no requirement to tell her about the 14.9 metre towers.
"We were surprised that we weren't notified," said Lisa. "We asked some of the neighbours. None of the neighbours had any clue that these cellular antenna had been put up."
The issue is a federal one, and one likely not to change, as Ottawa collects money from carrier networks—an astounding $582 million in 2011. And while the carriers are taking the blame, there is little incentive for the rules to change.
Some may not mind the added coverage and reception. But the health effects of continuous exposure to radiofrequency radiation are not well known and conflicting research studies keep the issue contentious. Health Canada claims the radiation is safe, though The International Agency for Research on Cancer considers them carcinogenic.