As reported today by CBC/Radio-Canada, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is calling for an “immediate cessation” of smart meter installations and to “remove those meters already installed.”
The district’s board chair, Mark Pendergraft, said a recent report from 200 scientists about radiation from wireless devices, including smart meters, has convinced the board that they are a danger.
The action of the RDOS follows on the heels of some Penticton Indian Band members expressing concerns about the meters being installed on the reserve.
Quoting the RDOS resolution that passed by 15 to 5 vote:
“It is hereby resolved that the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen does petition the Premier of British Columbia (the Hon. Christy Clark), the Minister of Health (the Hon. Terry Lake), and the Chief Medical Health Officer for BC (Dr. Perry Kendall) to acknowledge the real and rapidly increasing dangers of wireless radiation in all forms; and that the current exposure guidelines adhered to by the Province, namely Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, are outdated and inappropriate, and do not adequately protect citizens of RDOS, or indeed all British Columbians, from serious chronic health effects resulting from long term exposure to increasingly hazardous levels of wireless electromagnetic radiation.
Be it further resolved that in the interest of public safety, the Government of BC, through the BC Utilities Commission, be requested to order an immediate halt to mandatory installation of advanced (wireless) utility meters on all private residences within the jurisdiction of RDOS; and further, that all such meters recently installed within Electoral Area ‘D’ of the Regional District be removed immediately, at full cost to FortisBC.”
Mark Warren, director of customer service, technology and systems for FortisBC, says that the RDOS resolution “does not take into account the extensive public regulatory process that included a variety of expert witnesses.” A Fortis statement claims that the electromagnetic field (EMF) emitted from the meters is ‘far less than many common wireless consumer devices, including baby monitors, Wi-Fi routers and cellphones,” and notes that the signals the meter gives off are well below Health Canada guidelines, as well as most international standards.
[SkyVision Solutions commentary: Even if the above statements are true, this does not mean that the voluntary use of such devices as wireless baby monitors are ‘safe’ or that concerned consumers should have RF-emitting smart meters installed on their property without their explicit consent.]
Emotions ran in Keremeos after a group residents gathered outside the village office and confronted Mayor Manfred Bauer who had voted against the RDOS resolution. “Why don’t you protect your people?” protesters yelled as Mayor Bauer came out the back door of the village office trying to enter his vehicle. Bauer did speak to protesters briefly about his reasons for voting against a smart meter moratorium. “There is no legal leg for that,” Bauer said to the small but loud crowd, as if that were a legitimate justification for not looking after the rights and concerns of consumers.
The RDOS Letter addressed to the Premier of British Columbia, the Minister of Health, and the Provincial Health Officer calling for the cessation of smart meter installations is well worded and is reproduced below:
“At the May 21, 2015 Regular Board Meeting, the Board of Directors passed the following resolution:
Whereas over 60 municipalities, regional districts and First Nation governments in British Columbia, including the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (2012) have now called for a ‘moratorium’ on the mandatory installation of wireless ‘smart’ utility meters in their communities until an opt-out option is made available;
And given that such wireless electricity meters … are currently being installed throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys by Corix Utilities on behalf of FortisBC, usually without securing any form of written consent from affected property owners;
And whereas the ltron meters that are presently being installed on privately owned residences are not UL approved or CSA certified, nor will FortisBC provide a letter of certification from a qualified professional engineer giving assurance that such meters do not constitute a risk to health and fire safety, as required by BC Safety Standards Act Section 21(4); raising doubt that such installations are legal, or that liability is accepted by either FortisBC or Corix;
And, given that the Heritage Hills/Lakeshore Highlands Resident’s Association unanimously adopted a motion in December of 2014 requesting the RDOS to pass a Resolution ‘opposing the installation of Smart Meters in Area ‘D’ of the Regional District’;
And whereas more than 230 residents living in several communities of the South Okanagan and Similkameen have in recent weeks signed a petition calling upon the RDOS to decline approval for any installation of smart meters (which may violate building code requirements), until safety and human health risks have been clearly disproven by published scientific fact;
And recognizing that on May 7, 2015 the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a scathing condemnation of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 guidelines for non-ionizing radiation from wireless devices, including smart meters, warning that the microwave levels allowed in Canadian classrooms, residences and workplaces constitute a ‘disaster to public health’;
And further noting that just last week, over 200 distinguished scientists and cancer specialists from 39 nations submitted an open Appeal to the United Nations, its Member states, and the World Health Organization, calling upon the WHO to consider reclassifying electromagnetic fields from wireless devices to Group 2A agents, as ‘probable carcinogens’; these experts call upon the WHO to take urgent measures to strengthen the International’ regulation of non-ionizing radiation, ‘to protect our children, ourselves and our ecosystems’;
And finally, whereas the British Columbia Public Health Act gives ultimate responsibility for Health Protection to the Minister of Health and to BC’s Chief Medical Health Officer, and under Sec. 83 (1), the Act requires that any local government must take action upon being made aware of any health hazard or health impediment within its jurisdiction, by reporting the health hazard to a Provincial Health Officer, and by taking actions or enforcing any Regulations as prescribed by Sec. 120(1) of the Public Health Act.
Therefore, by virtue of the aforestated facts, it is hereby resolved that the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen does petition the Premier of British Columbia (the Hon. Christy Clark), the Minister of Health (the Hon. Terry Lake), and the Chief Medical Health Officer for BC (Dr. Perry Kendall) to acknowledge the real and rapidly increasing dangers of wireless radiation in all forms; and that the current exposure guidelines adhered to by the Province, namely Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, are outdated and inappropriate, and do not adequately protect citizens of RDOS, or indeed all British Columbians, from serious chronic health effects resulting from long term exposure to increasingly hazardous levels of wireless electromagnetic radiation.
And be it further resolved that in the interest of public safety, the Government of BC, through the BC Utilities Commission, be requested to order an immediate halt to mandatory installation of advanced (wireless) utility meters on all private residences within the jurisdiction of RDOS; and further, that all such meters recently installed within Electoral Area ‘D’ of the Regional District be removed immediately, at full cost to FortisBC.”
The British Columbia Public Health Act requires that a local government, upon becoming aware of a health hazard, must take action by reporting the health hazard to a medical health officer, and may request a medical health officer issue an order with respect to the identified hazard. Therefore, I respectfully request that such an order be issued requiring the immediate cessation of installation of wireless ‘smart’ utility meters. In addition, I further request that FortisBC be required to remove those meters already installed in Electoral Area ‘D’.
RDOS Board Chair”
News Coverage of RDOS Resolution and Indian Band Concerns
“Smart meters’ electronic signals pose a health risk: Okanagan-Similkameen district,” at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/smart-meters-electronic-signals-pose-a-health-risk-okanagan-similkameen-district-1.3098056?cmp=rss
“Fortis responds to Smart Meter resolution,” at http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/305916321.html
“Smart meter moratorium,” at http://www.castanet.net/news/BC/140770/Smart-meter-moratorium
“Scientists ‘can’t all be quacks,’ as RDOS calls for moratorium on smart meters,” at http://www.pentictonherald.ca/news/article_ce577212-001e-11e5-b797-9307519dae0d.html
“Residents say no notice on smart meters,” at http://www.pentictonwesternnews.com/news/303829321.html
Guest Column in the Penticton Herald
Also see the article, “GUEST COLUMN: Health, safety fears over smart meters,” June 1, 2015, at http://www.pentictonherald.ca/life/article_c393f316-08c8-11e5-8ab3-d3a328694851.html, reproduced as PDF link below: