Towering plus for park
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.