'Untested technology': Winnipeg protesters worried about 5G antennas
WINNIPEG -- There weren't any people on their cell phones at a 5G protest in Winnipeg.
Saturday afternoon, a group of Winnipeggers gathered at City Hall to protest the installation of 5G small cell towers in the city.
"People around the world are worried about 5G, they're worried about the little antennas," said Margaret Friesen, the organizer of the 5G Winnipeg Awareness protest. "They're little, but they can actually pack a very big punch."
A public service report released by the City of Winnipeg said it would begin testing small cell towers to improve cell reception and prepare the city for a move to 5G cell service in the future.
Friesen, a former research biologist with the Government of Canada, believes there hasn't been enough long term testing on 5G technology.
"We should be taking precautionary measures. We should not be exposing people on a large scale to this," said Friesen.
The city report said it could take up to 25 5G small cell towers to match the coverage of one regular cell tower.
Barry Malowanchuk, a retired telecommunications engineer for Manitoba Hydro, believes the 5G installations being planned across the city are a concern for public health.
"Continuous exposure to RF radiation has not been well studied, certainly not in North America," said Malowanchuk.
He said the city is between a rock and a hard place.
He believes Winnipeg wants to offer 5G like other major cities to attract business but doesn't think it's necessary.
"I think a lot of that is hype by the industry to promote the growth of 5G. I'm not sure it's really all that it's hyped up to be," said Malowanchuk.
In a statement to CTV News, the City of Winnipeg said:
"The city is not responsible for the regulations of radio communications."
"Canada's Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines known as safety code 6 are developed at the federal level by Health Canada."
"Any company operating 5G or Small Cell technologies in Winnipeg would be required to adhere to these guidelines."
Friesen said she wants the city to put in a non-concurrence, and halt the installation of 5G small cell towers, following the actions of other cities like Sutton, Que. and Niagara Falls, Ont.
"I would like to see the city put a halt to this, and just say we need more information," she said. "We don't want to expose our people to this untested technology."