Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Includes archive of Bill Virgin's columns fromJ une 2006 - March 2009

Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby jon » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:11 pm

Delta-Richmond East MP taking action on radio towers file
Delta Optimist
April 4, 2014 12:00 AM

Editor: Over the past several months, some constituents have voiced their objections to me regarding the radio towers proposed for construction in Point Roberts, and the possibility of interference with electronics in the community. I hear these concerns, understand and empathize with them, and, as the member of Parliament, have taken action in the following ways:

Early on, I wrote to Whatcom County officials urging them to take Tsawwassen residents' concerns into account in any application before them. I have followed up, but not yet received a response.

I have educated myself, and engaged not only officials at Industry Canada, but also Industry Minister James Moore, directly about this community issue.

I have met personally with the project's proponents to gain first-hand information on KRPI's plans. At that meeting, the project's principals assured me they are prepared to have engineers on call 24/7 to deal with potential interference issues, a measure that is beyond current requirements.

In early December, I also met personally with designated community representative, Nancy Beaton, who was accompanied by U.S. resident and community advisor, Arthur Reber. They provided to me documentary details/maps showing their belief as to the radial reach of the radio tower transmissions that are causing resident concern. The following week, I hand-delivered these documents directly to Moore, as promised. I advised Beaton by email that I had done so that same week.

Every time my office has been given sufficient notice of meetings, I have sent a representative to listen and keep me apprised of residents' concerns. Unfortunately, at least twice, my Ottawa office (rather than my constituency office in Ladner) has been notified within hours of a meeting, which makes it difficult to arrange a presence. It is not always possible for me to attend meetings or town hall sessions due to my parliamentary and ministerial obligations.

In the riding of Delta- Richmond East, we have 10 other such towers already existing (as well as two in Blaine, WA). Of these 12, nine operate at the same wattage as those proposed for Point Roberts in proximity to residential areas. I find it encouraging to note that, to date, my office has never received complaints about electronic interference or any other related issue due to the operation of these towers:

1. AM 1130 - 50,000 watts, No. 6 Road and Blundell Road (Richmond)

2. AM 1200 - 25,000 watts, No. 6 Road and Cambie Road (Richmond)

3. AM 1320 - 50,000 watts, No. 7 Road and Westminster Highway (Richmond)

4. AM 1470 - 50,000 watts, No. 8 Road and River Road (Richmond)

5. AM 730 - 50,000 watts, 80th Street and McAllister Road (Delta)

6. AM 1040 - 50,000 watts, 104th Street and Highway 99 (Delta)

7. AM 1410 - 50,000 watts, 104th Street and Highway 99 (Delta)

8. AM 600 - 10,000 watts, Nelson and Westminster Highway (Richmond)

9. AM 690 - 50,000 watts, Springhill Crescent on the dike (Richmond)

10. AM 650 -50,000 watts, Triangle Road and No. 6 Road (Richmond)

11. AM 550 - 5,000 watts, Downtown Blaine

12. AM 1600 - 50,000 watts, Downtown Blaine

I have continued to keep Moore's department aware of any and all information that has reached me. Following from Moore's January letter and recent email to many residents, at the core of this issue is that the Canadian government ultimately has no jurisdiction over foreign entities and their decision-making processes.

The United States' Federal Communications Commission is responsible for approval of the broadcast license and Whatcom County is responsible for approval of the building permits. I understand the FCC decision regarding the new towers is the subject of a judicial review in Washington state. I am sure we all look forward to being informed of the results of that deliberation.

What is within our Canadian jurisdiction are rules and regulations over broadcasting within Canada, and tower construction within Canada.

With respect to construction of telecommunications (including radio) towers, Industry Canada recently announced new changes to federal policies. Previously consultations only had to be conducted on towers over 15 metres, but now community engagement will be mandatory on all new tower construction. While this announcement does not pertain to the Point Roberts towers, it will assist where similar situations occur in Canadian communities in the future.

With respect to programming, CRTC, an independent regulatory authority, oversees decisions. With respect to other broadcasting considerations such as frequencies and electronic interference, Industry Canada does have jurisdiction over these issues within Canada emanating from Canadian sources, and these issues are dealt with in coordination with affected municipalities as complaints may arise. Again, Industry Canada has no jurisdiction to deal with these issues if the broadcaster is in the U.S. As to cross-border matters, the ministry that has ultimate jurisdiction is the federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. I have now informed Minister John Baird of the community's concerns.

As the KRPI towers have not yet been constructed, and broadcasting from the new site has not begun, the ability is limited for even that department to deal with anticipated or pre-emptive concerns. However, we will continue to explore all options.

I want to take the opportunity to reassure the residents of Delta-Richmond East, and particularly Tsawwassen, that I have and will continue to work diligently on this file and to carry out my responsibility to all constituents -to represent their interests in Ottawa and at the federal cabinet table. Any suggestions that I am "missing in action" on this matter, or that I have "shunned" community meetings, are simply not correct.

I look forward to continuing to engage with all constituents of Delta-Richmond East to make our community better for all of us to live and work.

Kerry-Lynne Findlay MP, Delta-Richmond East
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby Boombox » Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:46 am

RE: AM 600, 10kw -- is that station still on the air? Didn't it used to be CJOR, and then The Bridge?
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby radiofan » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:57 am

Boombox wrote:RE: AM 600, 10kw -- is that station still on the air? Didn't it used to be CJOR, and then The Bridge?

600 has been off the air since late 2008 when it flipped to FM and became 100.5 The Peak (now 102.7).
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby RationalKeith » Mon Jun 16, 2014 7:26 am

While I am generally not sympathetic to hypothetical complaints I note that most of the transmitters listed are not close to Tsawwassen. Even Blaine town is not very close.

Point Roberts is very close, but has significant length so it depends on where the transmitting antenna is located.

(For those not familiar with the geography, I note that Tsawwassen and Point Roberts share a peninsula of high ground at the SW corner of the lower mainland of BC, Blaine is a significant distance to the east, just south of White Rocks/South Surrey with water between there and the peninsula. Richmond is well to the north, on the other side of the south arm of the Fraser River.)
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby jon » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:24 pm

Radio towers applicant meets deadline
Whatcom County hearing on BBC Broadcasting plan could be held by September
Sandor Gyarmati
Delta Optimist
July 10, 2014 04:45 PM

The company behind a contentious plan to erect radio transmission towers at the Point Roberts/Tsawwassen border has managed to meet an important deadline by Whatcom County.

BBC Broadcasting Inc. wants to construct five 45-metre (150-foot) steel towers at an undeveloped lot on McKenzie Way in Point Roberts, about 330 metres from the border.

The towers would transmit South Asian radio station KRPI, AM 1550, which broadcasts from studios in Richmond, B.C., serving the Lower Mainland region. Also known as Sher-E-Punjab AM 1550, the company currently broadcasts using antenna located in Ferndale, WA, but wants to move them closer and have a stronger 50,000 watt all-day signal.

The Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. granted a construction permit but a conditional use permit is still required from Whatcom County, which asked the applicant for addition information, including questions put forward by a county biologist. The county requested that information last fall, setting a July 10th deadline that has been met. If the company had failed to meet that deadline, the county application would have been cancelled and the company would have had to start over.

Whatcom County project planner, Suzanne Bosman told the Optimist several thick binders with detailed studies were submitted, information that will be posted on the county website next week.

Regardless whether the county approves or denies the zoning application, the county hearing examiner will hold a public hearing on the application. Bosman said a date for the hearing hasn’t been confirmed, but a request has been made to set aside Sept. 24, 25, 26, 2014. Normally, a hearing takes one day, but several days are needed due to the public interest, Bosman said, adding at least one day will be needed to hear from the public and another to hear from experts commenting on the various studies including potential health impacts.

In a recent presentation to Delta council, Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay said residents opposed to the application should focus their attention on the upcoming hearing. She noted she had been told by Industry Canada that the FCC was aware of Tsawwassen and took the community into consideration when reviewing the application. It’s been a source of great contention among many local residents who said the application was fraudulent because Tsawwassen was left completely out of the company’s submitted map.

Concerned about the economic, environmental and social impacts, complaints about the process, as well as blanketing interference of radio waves, the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers warns that blanket interference can affect many electronic devices, causing “ghosting” of KRPI signals.

“There is strong likelihood of blanket interference with many electronic devices, and reception of other radio stations. Blanket Interference affects home and car radios, computers, home phones, TVs, walki-talkies and other devices not intended for radio communications. This was well documented by the residents of Ferndale who suffered for many years with this problem. Reading their complaints is horrifying,” the group states.

Delta sent a letter of concern to the county last fall. Bosman wrote back to Mayor Lois Jackson saying, “We are aware of the potential impacts that signal interference may cause to those living in Point Roberts, WA and the 21,000 residents of Tsawwassen, BC. We are equally concerned regarding the potential impacts on emergency communication systems.”

The broadcaster stated, “Although KRPI is not legally required to address complaints beyond a period of one year from commencement of station operations, nor to work across the Canadian border on the issue, KRPI nevertheless is committed to going beyond minimum legal requirements and maintain its interference complaint resolution service for the life of the transmitter, and to provide the service to anyone affected regardless of whether they are in Point Roberts or Tsawwassen.”

The Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Radio Towers is urging residents to register with Whatcom County and speak at the hearing or send a letter of protest.
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby jon » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:44 pm

Fun to see how B.C.'s News Leader handled the story:

Plans to move radio towers from BC to Point Roberts anger residents on both sides of the border
Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980
Marcella Bernardo
July 30, 2014 07:56 pm

A signal-blocking electronic surveillance station -owned by the U-S government- is being blamed for the latest case of ‘Not In My Back Yard’ syndrome on both sides of the Canadian border.

“The only reason that KRPI is moving is because they can’t improve their night time signal.”

Andrew Skotdal, speaking on behalf of BBC Broadcasting, insists moving five 50-thousand watt towers to Point Roberts will cause minimal radio interference.

“KRPI have promised to cover the expense of these repairs regardless of whether they’re on the Canadian side or the US side.”

But opponent Steve Graham is still worried about the environment.

“We’re also looking at trying to have their license renewal denied.”

Four days of hearings are set to start in Bellingham on October 27th.
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Re: Latest on KRPI Point Roberts

Postby Mike Cleaver » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:10 pm

No surprise there, Jon.
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