A group of Montrose citizens opposed to wireless smart meters is heading down the hill and holding a public forum in the Trail Memorial Centre gymnasium Nov. 7 at 7 p.m.
Eileen Como, Montrose Coun. Mary Gay and Trail resident Roger Catalano, members of the West Kootenay Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, approached Trail council at the Monday governance meeting to request a rental waiver from the city to support an educational forum about FortisBC’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project.
“As a private citizen with no financial budget we want to educate citizens who are not getting the information about this topic and what we are facing,” explained Como.
“We want all people living in the Fortis service area to be informed about what is happening.”
Earlier this month the group approached Montrose council to support a town hall meeting, which did happen, however the trio is expecting the public turnout to exceed the 100-seat capacity at the village hall.
“Montrose council is in support but we need a bigger facility and we would like to accommodate a crowd from the entire area,” said Como. “And we are hoping to have you on board so we can work on this serious issue together.”
The public forum will include a guest speaker from Kelowna, Jerry Flynn, who opposes the AMI project, citing, “the know harmful bio-effects of low-level radiation that is emitted by smart meter-based networks.”
Flynn is a former Royal Canadian Navy captain in the communications and electronics engineering branch, with experience in electronic warfare, radio warfare and signal intelligence.
“This is an educational forum so will you be allowing people to speak on the opposite side of this?” asked Coun. Sean Mackinlay.
“Yes, Blair Weston (Powersense technical advisor at FortisBC, Trail offices) is invited and there will be time for questions and answers after the presentation,” she said.
Council did waive fees for use of the gym ($500), but not before clarification about Como’s request for a “city sanctioned forum.”
If the city were to sanction the event, it would suggest official approval and/or ratification of information that the group is presenting to the public, explained David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer.
“In this respect the city would have a responsibility to review all the information to ensure it is valid and factually correct,” he continued, adding, “the rental waiver is approved and the group is operating independently from the city as far as their dissemination of information is concerned and any potential repercussions that may flow as a result.”