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Courtenay debates smart metres

Courtenay council wants to hear from BC Hydro before deciding whether to request a temporary prohibition of smart meters from the province.

The council chambers at city hall were packed last week as council heard from residents opposed to BC Hydro’s smart meters.

The delegation urged council to ask for a moratorium on the mandatory installation of BC Hydro’s wireless smart meters until independent research on the meters is completed. BC Hydro plans to install smart meters in the Comox Valley over the summer.

Coun. Starr Winchester made a motion to invite a BC Hydro representative to a future council meeting to hear the company’s reasons for installation.

“I think in order for us to make an informed decision we have to hear both sides of the equation,” said Winchester.

Council voted in favour of the motion.

Trudy Thompson, one of three delegation speakers, said she understands council’s desire to hear from BC Hydro before making a decision.

“I understand that they need to talk to BC Hydro, but BC Hydro is one-sided and one-sided only and that is to push forward this smart meter program no matter what the cost to the public, any health effects, any concerns, and I mean it’s costing us dearly, not just with our money, but with our lives and our security,” said Thompson.

Some of the concerns raised were: increased cost, threatened security to residents’ privacy and health risks.

She also pointed out the new meters are not CSA approved.

David Kirk, who also spoke against smart meters, said he asked BC Hydro not to install a smart meter on his property.

“BC Hydro told me that they would not be installing a hydro meter on my property, that it was noted, but if I refused again, that my hydro service would be denied to me,” Kirk told council. “I said I’d rather be in the dark than have one on my house.”

He outlined instructions for residents to tell BC Hydro they do not want a smart meter installed on their property, which can be found at www.stopsmartmetersbc.ca

According to Kirk, 45 B.C. municipalities have passed motions for moratoriums on mandatory installation until concerns have been addressed. Some councils have asked that BC Hydro offers opt out options to residents. He said the goal is support from over 160 municipalities.

Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula and Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard agreed that hearing from BC Hydro does not mean council won’t request a moratorium on the meters.

“All of us are concerned and I know that this is quite a large issue in the community,” said Jangula. “And we’re talking about things like not CSA approved — that’s quite concerning to me — misuse of personal data and possible theft of personal data is concerning. Lack of security, I agree it’s a very serious issue, and I think all of us are saying to the delegation that we understand what you’re saying.

“We’re going to try to get them (BC Hydro) to come and talk to us and we’ll likely have another kick at this and decide where we’re going to go from there.”

 

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