Council defers phone tower
Councillors have deferred a contentious telecommunications tower for the first time in years amid an outcry from affected neighbours and concern about the proliferation of towers in the region.
Telstra representatives attended last week’s Shire of Augusta-Margaret River meeting only to have the tower decision held back another fortnight as councillors sought more information.
After a site visit earlier in the day, residents told the meeting the proposed 70m monopole on Latch Road in Deepdene would blight the visual landscape, be close to homes and affect resale value of rural properties in the area.
Several councillors noted neighbours always objected to phone towers but everyone wanted working phones and internet.
“I don’t think we’ve actually refused a telecommunications tower in the time I’ve been (on council),” Cr Mike Smart said.
“There’s always someone opposed to it.”
However, questions raised during debate — and after deputations from neighbours Robyn Dennis and Caroline Maxwell — resulted in other councillors speaking against the item until Cr Naomi Godden proposed a deferral.
Neighbours said there were a lot of other sites originally identified for the tower and yet some other landowners had no record of contact from Telstra.
Earlier in the meeting, Telstra representative John Moore warned time lines associated with Federal Government black spot funding for National Broadband Network towers meant an urgent decision was required.
“If we do not get planning approval for this site this evening, we will not be proceeding with any site in this region,” he said.
Councillors also quizzed acting chief executive Dale Putland about the options for delaying the decision, despite statutory time frames that meant deferral could trigger a Telstra appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal.
Cr Godden told colleagues she wanted the “accurate information that led to this site being selected”.
Deputy Shire president Julia Meldrum said she was “really overwhelmed” by the beauty of the proposed tower site.
“I don’t feel we’ve been provided a completely accurate report from the proponent,” she said.
Shire president Pam Townshend said towers were needed in Deepdene to help emergency services. What do you think? Send your letters to edi[email protected]rtimes.com.au by Wednesday 12pm.