Keep pursuing a Dundas tower

Published 6:12 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2016

At the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors meeting in May, member T. Wayne Hoover said he wanted to be sure the county is actively promoting the Dundas location to anyone looking to erect a cell tower.

“The county is going to benefit greatly if we can get someone to build on it,” Hoover said at the time.

We are cheered that county leaders would still like to see a cell tower erected in the Dundas community, and that the county is even looking for grant money to pay for the construction.

We agree that this project could help the county in a number of ways.

As Hoover said, a tower would help improve 911-coverage; he went so far to even call the area “the linchpin to the county’s handheld coverage.”

Just improving safety would be enough to support a project, but there are other benefits — and although they do not match improving emergency response, they carry day-to-day benefits.

That is to say, it would just improve run of the mill cell phone service; because just improving cell phone service is a benefit and a good thing.

The effort to have a tower erected is one that has been ongoing.

Earlier this year the board withdrew a conditional use permit from Verizon Wireless to build a 295-foot tower on Mill Pond Road in the community after the company failed to begin construction fast enough.

Local leaders had high hopes for the project, but ran into an old problem: no one wants to build without a customer base — and rural areas just don’t have the numbers.

Let’s call that the circle of business, and the conundrum that the county finds itself in: Better service may make an area more attractive, but providers are only attracted by a customer base.

Which is why the county’s determination is all the more to be appreciated.

Of course, the county has made no secret of its desire to have more cell towers in the area.

Beverley Hawthorne, Lunenburg’s economic and community development director, said providers “know that site is available and we want them to come.”

She added that the county is working with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative to promote the site and let people know about its availability. Now, the county will make a point to do even more, she said.

But by looking to pursue various options the county is showing audacity. And for rural areas that don’t have the advantage of numbers and location, sometimes audacity is the best you can do.