City nod for phone tower
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.