Tow­er­ing plus for park

Midwest Times - - NEWS -

Two new mo­bile phone tow­ers in­stalled in the Kal­barri Na­tional Park will im­prove safety for tourists and res­i­dents, Na­tion­als MP Shane Love says.

“There were some dire safety con­di­tions that did ex­ist out there and there have al­ways been prob­lems,” the mem­ber for Moore said.

“The park now has mo­bile cov­er­age, which will have great con­se­quences for safety.

“There will still be ar­eas that are black spots, but gen­er­ally the pop­u­lar ar­eas will have cov­er­age.”

Mid West De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chair­man Todd West said the tow­ers, which are lo­cated at Mea­narra Hill and the Kal­barri Loop trail, could also boost tourism in the area.

“The pri­mary ob­jec­tives are to en­hance the safety of trav­ellers and res­i­dents, to pro­mote tourism in the re­gion by per­mit­ting vis­i­tors to in­stantly up­load images and video and to gen­er­ally as­sist with mak­ing the Mid West a more glob­ally com­pet­i­tive place,” he said.

Emer­gency ser­vices are fre­quently called to the Kal­barri Na­tional Park, which is a pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion for bush­walk­ers and hik­ers.

In Septem­ber, two Sin­ga­porean tourists sparked a ma­jor search after they be­came lost and were forced to spend the night in cold, wet con­di­tions.

Later that month a women had to be res­cued after fall­ing and break­ing her leg.

Mr West said al­though the tow­ers had been on air since July and Au­gust, Tel­stra is plan­ning to host an of­fi­cial launch event in Kal­barri some­time be­fore the end of Novem­ber.

Both sites were funded un­der round one of the Fed­er­ally funded Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram.

Mr West said the money was pro­vided through a part­ner­ship be­tween the WA and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments and Tel­stra.

“Un­der the fund­ing agree­ment be­tween all the par­ties in­volved, we’re not per­mit­ted to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on the cost of in­di­vid­ual sites, or part­ner con­tri­bu­tions, as it’s con­sid­ered com­mer­cial-in­con­fi­dence and part of the con­tract terms.”

Mr Love said the tow­ers were “tech­ni­cally chal­leng­ing and very ex­pen­sive be­cause of the dis­tances in­volved and the need to get the sig­nal out”.

He cred­ited former coun­cil­lor and se­nior Kal­barri State Emer­gency Ser­vice mem­ber Mac Holt with cam­paign­ing to get the tow­ers in­stalled.

“He worked very hard to high­light the safety as­pects and to lobby hard with peo­ple like my­self to get the tow­ers put in,” he said.

Mr Love said there had been sig­nif­i­cant up­grades to telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fras­truc­ture in the Mid West in re­cent years.

He said Mullewa was next in line to re­ceive mo­bile phone tow­ers, which were in the process of be­ing de­vel­oped.

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