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.