A battle is brewing in Manotick over a cell phone tower.

Telus wants to build a 35-metre, single mast cell phone tower on private land on Dozois Road, just sound of Mitch Owens Road.

That puts it a couple of hundred metres from St. Mark’s High School, and even closer to Manotick Montessori School.

Some parents and residents believe the tower will emit radio frequency (RF) radiation that can pose health risks, especially to children. They say there is research that shows RF exposure is much more harmful than Health Canada claims. “Conclusive research that actually shows that proximity within 2 kilometres of cell phone towers actually links to leukemia, brain tumours,” says Stephanie St. John, mother of two Montessori students.

Health Canada maintains its guidelines are based on available science to protect adults and children from RF exposure. And Telus says the proposed  tower will cause exposure up to 10,000 times below Health Canada’s guidelines at a distance of 100 metres.

Telus spokesperson, Chris Gerritsen, says the tower’s limited strength means it needs to be in that area to serve people in that area. “The bottom line is cell phone service is more than just a convenience,” says Gerritsen, “It’s truly a lifeline for many in our citys.”

The third side in this story is Morris "Sundance" Smith. An elderly, disabled father of four, he's the owner of the land on which Telus wants to build the tower. He says the money he will earn from it is a Godsend. But he is also willing to leave the outcome of the dispute in God's hands.  "I never wanted to bother anybody," says Smith. "I never wanted to be a problem to anybody."

Parents and residents trying to sway that outcome have signed a petition calling for a ban on the tower. Janine Marcotte is the owner and principal of Manotick Montessori. “We’ll fight it right to the end,” says Marcotte. “We’ll do everything we can to fight it to make sure it’s not in our backyard.”