Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 14, 1999
Cellular phone tower reflects church design
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Here's the church and here's the steeple, open it up and there's the . . . telecommunications tower.
And the people of the church couldn't be happier.
Parishioners at St. Thomas More Church entering the parking lot of their southside church are met by a 30-metre Telus telecommunications tower, which looks more like a self-standing entrance steeple than a commercial tower.
"If you didn't know, you'd never guess it was a cell (phone) tower," said Father Richard Theroux, pastor of St. Thomas More. "You'd think it was part of the church all this time."
The parish, which has about 1,800 families, opened its new church two years ago. The tower was constructed in March and fully financed by Telus.
The site was ideal for the tower because it was one of the highest points in the city, said Paul Liber, chair of St. Thomas More's finance committee.
And the idea of having what could have been a gaudy mammoth metal pole in their backyard became a welcome proposal for parishioners.
"They said they wanted to build us a landmark - not to put up a (cell) tower," Liber said. "To us, it's a landmark."
It's a landmark alright, admits Liber who said travellers can see the tower from any street leading in the church's direction.
For those heading south on Terwillegar Drive, the tower peeps over rooflines and stands among the masses of powerlines and trees. It can be seen almost from the moment drivers turn off of Whitemud Drive onto Terwillegar, some five kilometres away.
The three poles of the tower are connected with long boards forming a triangular shape. Each board is stenciled with a cross and illuminated at night.
The base of the tower is a garage that houses equipment for the church and Telus.
"We didn't have any concerns about it," Liber said. "It was built to blend in with the church."
Architect Barry Johns, who designed St. Thomas More, helped to incorporate the design of the Telus landmark into the church.
"(Telus) had done something similar to this with a church on the westside," Liber said. "So we didn't have many concerns that this wouldn't work out."