Tower bat­tle

Wanneroo Weekender - - News - Tyler Brown

CRAIGIE res­i­dents have won their lat­est fight with Op­tus over a phone tower pro­posed at Cam­ber­warra Park.

CRAIGIE res­i­dents have won their lat­est fight with Op­tus over a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tower pro­posed at Cam­ber­warra Park but it may not be over yet.

Joon­dalup coun­cil­lors at Tues­day night’s meet­ing unan­i­mously re­fused the tower, which would be in­stalled next to the ten­nis courts and toi­let block and about 23m from the near­est res­i­den­tial prop­erty.

The de­ci­sion reaf­firmed the coun­cil’s pre­vi­ous unan­i­mous re­fusal in May when Op­tus pro­posed a 31.75m tower.

Op­tus ap­pealed the coun­cil’s re­fusal at the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (SAT) and through this process the pro­posal was re­vised, re­duc­ing the to­tal height to 25m and pro­vid­ing a vis­ual im­pact as­sess­ment.

At last week’s coun­cil brief­ing, res­i­dents ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment they were “back in this po­si­tion”.

“A lot of the park is al­ready taken up by a drainage site and now we’re go­ing to lose more,” Robert Ed­wards said.

“It will be a vis­ual eye­sore.

“There are plenty of other op­tions and ar­eas for the tower that are not back­ing into res­i­dents’ gar­dens.”

Speak­ing on be­half of Op­tus, Plan­ning So­lu­tions di­rec­tor Ben Doyle said they had looked at al­ter­na­tive sites in the park and sur­round­ing area but none were fea­si­ble.

He said the re­duced height of the tower would have a “mi­nor im­pact on the sur­round­ing area, tak­ing into ac­count the to­pog­ra­phy of the site and the tree canopy”.

On Tues­day night Mayor Al­bert Ja­cob moved to refuse Op­tus’s re­vised pro­posal. He said Op­tus had not pro­vided ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion about why the new tower was re­quired and sub­mis­sions from the com­mu­nity were “over­whelm­ingly op­posed”.

He said it was also not clear why Op­tus re­quired a stand-alone tower and could not co-lo­cate with an­other telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions provider at an ex­ist­ing tower.

This was also the ba­sis for his mo­tion to re­quest the chief ex­ec­u­tive ask the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion to help it en­gage with the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try to “iden­tify a more co-or­di­nated ap­proach in iden­ti­fy­ing suitable lo­ca­tions for these fa­cil­i­ties”.

Though Cr Mike Nor­man agreed with the re­fusal, he said he was con­cerned after lawyers ad­vised they would have a small chance to suc­cess­fully de­fend the de­ci­sion at SAT, with a hear­ing “likely to cost more than $30,000”.

A SAT di­rec­tions hear­ing has been sched­uled for Novem­ber 30, where it is ex­pected Op­tus will pro­ceed to a full hear­ing.

Res­i­dents at­tended a meet­ing at the park on Sun­day morn­ing.

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