Martin C. Barry
A Deux-Montagnes man who lives within line-of-sight of the city’s main water tower on Guy St. suggested during the June 12 city council meeting that cellular communications antennae attached to the tower are the cause of brain cancers contracted by four residents over six years within a half-kilometre radius.
RF radiation concerns
Tony Breault of Des Manoirs St. has posted several videos on YouTube in which he wonders whether the radio frequency signals emitted by cell phone companies that rent space from the City of Deux-Montagnes for their antennae on the water tower is making residents sick.
During the council meeting, Breault asked Mayor Denis Martin whether, “for the safety and security of your residents,” would the city consider removing antennae placed on the tower by Rogers, Telus, Videotron and at least one other communications service provider.
Wants contracts cancelled
He also wants Deux-Montagnes to cancel contracts with the companies for future use of municipal property for that purpose, unless they are located more than 500 meters from schools, children’s daycares, parks or long-term care residences.
Breault claims that four Deux-Montagnes residents within the 500-metre area were diagnosed with rare primary brain cancers between 2011 and 2017. He says two lived directly across the street from each other on 19th Ave. between Guy and du Boisé.
As well, he maintains that one of those stricken attended nearby Mountainview Elementary and Lake of Two Mountains High School for a total of seven years. He notes that the two schools are just across the street from the water tower, and that a CPE is also very close by.
Less RF than average: mayor
Mayor Martin acknowledged being in contact with Breault recently. Breault says he began contacting city officials with his concerns as early as May last year. The mayor said that a study conducted for the city of the RF coming off the tower concluded that it was less than the average.
Breault denied this during the council meeting. “Please stop saying that it’s less than the average – it’s not true,” he said. The mayor said he understood that it is a sensitive issue. “Nearly half the population at one time or another will be affected by one form or another of cancer.
‘Emotional issue,’ says mayor
“The causes can vary, can be different, and this is a very emotional issue,” the mayor continued, noting that his family has been particularly susceptible to cancer. “I myself had it in 2005,” he said. All the same, he said he had to base the city’s decisions on facts, while at the same time noting that cellular antennae are set up in other places in Deux-Montagnes, including the steeples of two churches on Oka Rd.
“I could go so far as stop those contracts you’re talking about, or have them go on a tower somewhere else,” said the mayor, pointing out that the city also puts its police and fire department radio antennae on the water tower. “We have to act on facts, but there are no facts right now that would allow us to change what’s in place.”
City tables finance results
During the same meeting, the mayor filed the City of Deux-Montagnes’ consolidated annual financial statements for the period up to December 31, 2018. The clear highlight of the report was a 52 per cent reduction in net debt in just four years.
In 2014, Deux-Montagnes had a consolidated net debt of $44.5 million. City debt now stands at $21.3 million, a reduction of $23.2 million. The mayor said the reduction in the debt load reflects sound management of public funds under the city’s administration.
Discipline led to results
“Our financial results demonstrate a great deal of discipline on the part of elected municipal officials and of course municipal managers,” said Mayor Martin. “They are the result of continued efforts aligned with our debt management guidelines. We’re extremely proud of the responsible approach taken by the management team we have in place.”
Accordin to the financial statements, the city ended 2018 with an operating surplus of $2.5 million, a sum that represents 9 per cent of the original budget. The mayor said the improved performance was due to an increase in revenues of more than $1.3 million and a decrease of $1.2 million in expenses and other tax items.
How surplus will be spent
The city says that part of the operating surplus will be used to build a permanent dike along the waterfront, and a noise-reduction wall along Highway 640. As for the $3.5 million investments made in 2018, $2.6 million has been allocated to urban infrastructure (sewer and water systems).
The mayor said the financial results indicate that the City of Deux-Montagnes is in good financial health. He said the achievements in the 2018 budget were made possible through a “shared vision” in conjunction with the productive efforts of city council members.
In recalling the role city managers played in achieving the organizational and financial objectives, Mayor Martin said, “The commitment of all the stakeholders involved helps to make Deux-Montagnes a city where life is good and where people thrive.”