Calls to re­ject mo­bile up­grade

Wanneroo Times - - NEWS - Tyler Brown

OP­TUS could be fac­ing an­other fight in the north­ern suburbs, with a Green­wood mother op­pos­ing a pro­posed phone panel near her home.

Ve­drana Mar­tino said she re­ceived a let­ter from the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany on Novem­ber 9, ad­vis­ing of a pro­posed up­date of an ex­ist­ing light pole at a mo­bile base sta­tion next to 61 Bou­var­dia Way, near Hep­burn Av­enue.

“This would be si­t­u­ated 30 to 40 me­tres across from my house and is in a highly pop­u­lated res­i­den­tial area with a lot of young fam­i­lies,” she said.

“I have a young son and had a stroke few years ago, so I have deep fear now for my health and for oth­ers around me.”

The pro­posal is for a ‘small cell’, which is a small panel an­tenna at the top of an ex­ist­ing pole and an equip­ment shel­ter.

This is dif­fer­ent than the com­mu­nity-op­posed Op­tus tower at Cam­ber­warra Park in Craigie, which was re­fused by the Joon­dalup Coun­cil last week.

“A small cell is a low­power mo­bile cell site de­signed to en­hance Op­tus’s 4G cov­er­age in the im­me­di­ate area, in­clud­ing along the road cor­ri­dor,” an Op­tus spokesper­son said.

“Us­ing small cells can achieve this ob­jec­tive with­out the need for a tower or larger in­stal­la­tion.”

Ms Mar­tino said only her and two of her neigh­bours had re­ceived the let­ter from Op­tus, so the rest of the res­i­dents in Bou­var­dia Way were not aware of the pro­posal.

“There is a small sign that looks like a lost dog poster on the light pole about the pro­posed up­grade, but I have sur­veyed a few of my neigh­bours and so far no one has read or no­ticed it,” she said.

“I am deeply dis­turbed at how this pro­posal can even be a pos­si­bil­ity with­out any coun­cil ap­proval or any con­sid­er­a­tion from the lo­cal res­i­dents.”

City of Joon­dalup chief ex­ec­u­tive Garry Hunt said small cells were con­sid­ered low im­pact tech­nol­ogy and un­der the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Act were ex­empt from plan­ning ap­proval.

An Op­tus spokesper­son said all mo­bile phone net­works “must com­ply with sci­ence-based reg­u­la­tions man­dated by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in re­la­tion to ex­po­sure to EME (elec­tro­mag­netic en­ergy) from mo­bile phone base sta­tions”.

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Ve­drana Mar­tino with her son Chace.

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