Canada top court rules Quebec city cannot block cell tower

Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:38am EDT
 
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OTTAWA, June 16 (Reuters) - Canada's top court ruled on Thursday that a Quebec municipality did not have the right to prevent wireless provider Rogers Communications from building a cell phone tower on municipal land.

The Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that the notice of reserve the city of Chateauguay had given Rogers was beyond the scope of Chateauguay's power. Canada's parliament holds jurisdiction over radiocommunication.

In 2008, Rogers told Chateauguay, a suburb of Montreal, that it intended to build a telecommunications tower to fill in gaps in its wireless coverage on a site the company had been renting since December 2007.

While the city initially opposed the project, it eventually issued a construction permit but after a public outcry, Chateauguay proposed an alternative site.

However, the second site required the city expropriate the owner and Rogers decided to go ahead with the first site. The city then issued a notice of land reserve, essentially blocking the project.

Rogers argued that the city had acted in bad faith, but a Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the city had acted with legitimate municipal purpose to protect the welfare of its residents.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Bernadette Baum)