Officials in a rural valley in British Columbia hope that keeping out cellphones will help attract residents and tourists who want to escape to the quiet of nature.

The fact that we're without cellphone service means that we're able to enjoy life without the incessant sound of ringtones, immediately followed by someone's shouted conversation, Bill Roberts of the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission said on Friday.

A group of residents in the valley in southeastern British Columbia have asked telephone company Telus Corp. not to build a planned cellphone tower in New Denver, a one-time mining boomtown that is now home to about 600 people.

If Telus decides against building the system, the economic development group plans to promote the valley's cellphone free status as a unique reason to visit or move to the region, Roberts said.

Roberts denies the area is anti-technology, noting it is constructing a system that will give rural residents access to high-speed Internet service using wireless technology. He also owns a cellphone that he uses while traveling.

I'm quite delighted that it doesn't work in New Denver, he said. I've been chained to a cellphone.