City nod for phone tower

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

A CON­TRO­VER­SIAL ap­pli­ca­tion by Tel­stra to build a mo­bile phone tower in Se­cret Har­bour has been ap­proved.

The City of Rock­ing­ham had twice pre­vi­ously re­jected the ap­pli­ca­tion, cit­ing vis­ual amenity con­cerns.

Many res­i­dents op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion and at­tended coun­cil meet­ings to voice their ob­jec­tions.

Tel­stra re­jected the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion, tak­ing their ap­pli­ca­tion to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tive Tri­bunal (SAT) for a re­view of the de­ci­sion.

At the March meet­ing, Cr Deb Ham­blin con­ceded the cost of fight­ing SAT and Tel­stra would be too much for the City.

“At the me­di­a­tion meet­ing or­dered by SAT, Tel­stra had lawyers and tech­ni­cal staff there,” she said.

“They told us all about the re­cep­tion and all those things.

“We sug­gested an al­ter­nate lo­ca­tion then we were told it would no longer be a 25m tower, it would be a 35m one.”

“We do know we would not win this if it went back to SAT. The cost of fight­ing it would be more than $100,000.

“It is a bur­den we can­not place on ratepay­ers; that is why I have voted to sup­port the ap­pli­ca­tion.

A res­i­dent in the gallery an­grily said his mo­bile phone re­cep­tion was fine be­fore he was asked to leave by Mayor Barry Sam­mels.

Cr Kath Sum­mers and Leigh Li­ley spoke of the science and re­jected the no­tion that tow­ers were safe.

“What is go­ing to hap­pen in 50 years’ time?” Cr Li­ley said. “Is this just an­other as­besto­sis wait­ing to hap­pen; what legacy are we go­ing to leave our young peo­ple?”

The mo­tion was car­ried seven votes to three with Cr Li­ley, Cr Sum­mers and Cr Lee Down­ham against.

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