Council wants wired Smart Meter option
Merritt city councillors decided they weren’t willing to take no for an answer after the Premier ignored a UBCM resolution calling for a moratorium on BC Hydro’s Smart Meter program.
Instead, council passed a motion at last Tuesday’s regular council meeting to communicate with BC Hydro and urge the company to offer concerned Merrittonians the option to install a wired Smart Meter rather than a wireless one. The motion, proposed by Councillor Shelley Sanders, recognizes that there may be additional costs involved in installing a wireless meter.
“I think it is in our best interest to be proactive and communicate with BC Hydro and ask them to consider a wired option,” said Sanders.
Other councillors expressed frustration with the provincial government’s lack of consultation on the issue and pushed for a city moratorium on the Smart Meter installation.
“I’m not against the smart grid; I’m against not having any choice,” said Councillor Mike Goetz. “I thought it was disrespectful for the minister to say the night before the vote that they would go ahead with the program any way.”
“I would suggest a moratorium — you have to have a choice in these matters.”
People across British Columbia — including local resident Walter Vohradsky — have raised concerns about the potential health hazards the wireless devices present because of the radio frequencies they emit. Others are concerned about the security of a wireless network.
Councillor Nadia Clarke agreed with Goetz saying that she could not support a program if there was any potential for harmful side affects.
“I think we need to take a stand,” she said.
During the UBCM convention in Vancouver last month, delegates heard from representatives on both sides of the issue before the vote, which was 55.1 per cent in favour of the moratorium, however, Councillor Dave Baker said he came away from the conference more confused.
“There is just not enough information for us to make a decision,” he said.
While some councillors continued to push for a moratorium at Tuesday’s meeting, and Councillor Harry Kroeker echoed Clarke’s call to take a stand, CAO Matt Noble warned that a moratorium might not carry a lot of clout with BC Hydro.
“They could potentially say let us install the meters or you don’t get any power,” said Noble.
“The motion that you’re proposing shows that you’re taking a rational approach and will at least keep the lines of communication open.”