Residents split over approved cell phone tower

Residents split over approved cell phone tower

COPPER HARBOR — Residents in Keweenaw County are split over a cell phone tower soon to be put on top of Brockway Mountain.

The view of majestic Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor will soon be changed forever. The Federal Communications Commission in February gave its stamp of approval for a new cell phone tower to be placed on top of the mountain.

Supporters say the 199 foot tower will provide Verizon customers in the area with cell phone service and most importantly, access to 911 service on a cell phone. Keweenaw County will reportedly receive $500 a month for leasing the location for the tower.

Though the addition of cell service is welcomed by many residents of the area, a group opposed to the tower has been fighting to have it placed anywhere but on Brockway.

“Friends of Brockway, as a community, came together and said, ‘Let’s try to protect this irreplaceable asset of our county,” said Gina Nicholas of Friends of Brockway Mountain.

The group has proposed alternative sites for the tower but with no success. They also argued that only Verizon customers with the latest phones will benefit from the tower and that recent legislation will soon allow cell phone users to police towers in an emergency.

Friends of Brockway Mountain say the fight isn’t over yet, for until the tower is erected, calls and letters to the FCC and government officials could still pull the plug on the project.

Nicholas said, “Brockway Mountain belongs to all of us, and the land and the drive have been the same since they were built in the 1930’s, and they built in the 1930’s for the purpose of giving people access to a beautiful, unspoiled viewshed.”
The cell tower is expected to be installed later this year.