Telecommunications Antenna Systems
Learn about the City of Surrey's policies, procedures, plans and federal legislation informing telecommunications development.
Demand for wireless services has increased significantly over the past decade with the widespread usage of wireless technology devices such as smartphones and tablets. People depend on these services to keep in touch with friends and family and to stay informed. Businesses and emergency services rely on wireless services 24-hours-a-day. To meet this demand, and provide reliable wireless coverage to our citizens, new infrastructure is often required in strategic locations across the city.
Telecommunications towers have evolved to now come in many shapes and sizes, from small units on lamp and utility poles to the familiar tall towers. The industry now refers to these as Antenna Systems.
Antenna System Siting Policy
The City’s Antenna System Siting Policy establishes the local land use consultation process and guidelines for reviewing and evaluating antenna system siting within Surrey. The Policy explains the City’s preferences on antenna systems’ location and design.
Readers are referred by the Policy to this website for details about:
- Notification of excluded antenna systems
- Pre-application consultation with City
- Proposal Submission
- Public Consultation
An Information Bulletin has been developed by the City’s Area Planning Department to this end.
The Policy also refers to a Visual Glossary and references as well as Design Drawings.
Antenna System Siting Proposals
In Canada, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, head of the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (formerly known as Industry Canada) (ISED), has the authority under the Radiocommunication Act to approve antenna system installations.
ISED makes the final decision to approve the location of antenna systems. Municipalities do not have the authority to override ISED's decisions. The ISED’s CPC-2-0-03 Radiocommunication and Broadcasting Antenna Systems outlines the process to install or modify antenna systems.
The City’s Role
The City’s authority to regulate the siting of antenna systems permits it to establish development guidelines for antenna systems and an accompanying community consultation process.
The City works with proponents in review of their proposal and provides a statement of concurrence or non-concurrence to the Proponent and ISED.
The City's concurrence considers:
- land use compatibility of each antenna system proposal
- City of Surrey’s design and location preferences
- comments from residents
- adherence to the City’s Antenna System Siting Policy
City Council will consider all applications for Antenna Systems where City concurrence is required, for those applications that are not already excluded by ISED. The City may express its concurrence or concerns in respect of a proposed application by either approving or denying a Development Variance Permit and/or Development Permit, as applicable.
Antenna Systems located within road allowances will require executing a licence agreement with the City.
Health & Safety Requirements
Health concerns relating to radiofrequency, energy, and safety fall under the national jurisdiction of Health Canada. Municipalities have no authority to regulate health and safety requirements related to antenna systems.
For more information on radiofrequency, health and safety, contact Health Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
- Government of Canada Radiofrequency Energy and Safety
- Government of Canada Radiofrequency FAQ
- Health Canada’s Radio Frequency Exposure Guidelines