Valley Fiber has been granted permission to build a large telecommunications tower in the community of Ste. Agathe.

Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen says the 195 foot tower, for wireless Internet, will go up north of Provincial Road 305, next to the fire hall. He notes this will ultimately result in better Internet throughout not only Ste. Agathe, but within a 10 mile radius.

A public hearing on the matter was held December 22nd. Ewen says a number of individuals made presentations that evening. He notes there were some very valid concerns with respect to aesthetics. Ewen notes Ste. Agathe Councillor Curtis Claydon stressed the importance of the site remaining visually appealing. That means a fence will be built at the base of the tower. Ewen says they might also add some trees or other greenery.

He notes there were also some health concerns noted at the hearing, specifically to how communications towers can cause cancer. Though Ewen says the concerns being presented had more to do with cellular towers, which this is not.

"Council was unanimous in the decision," says Ewen. "We felt very confident that this wasn't a cell tower specifically, which is a big concern out there."

Having said that, Ewen says it is entirely possible that in the future there might be additional services or infrastructure added to this tower. As a result, Councillor Claydon has ensured that in the future, Council will have the ability to review what could possibly be added to this tower.

"We definitely are a part of the decision making process along with what the provincial and federal regulations and guidelines are once the tower is set up," notes Ewen.

Ewen says Valley Fiber will get the land for a nominal fee and in return will provide free Internet service to Ritchot's municipal buildings and recreation facilities in the area.