Resident battle Optus plan for phone tower
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org A PLAN by Optus to erect a 31 metre tower at Coopers Shoot has angered local residents.
They are calling on Byron Council to extend the exhibition time of the DA. until the end of January, because they say many of the people affected are away on holidays or too busy to with Christmas to prepare a detailed submission.
Alison Cory owns the house opposite the preferred site of the tower.
"This is an issue that affects lots of people and groups in the area. I would be opposed to it even if I didn't live there," she said. "The proposed structure is so large it would loom over the entire township of Byron. This could be another St Helena, or worse."
In a submission to Byron Council prepared by Queensland based consultants Connell Wagner on behalf of Optus, they said that the tower was needed because of recent growth in the Suffolk Park area. "Although this area has Optus mobile coverage, the level of service is inadequate and Optus customers are experiencing call dropouts because of capacity problems with the surrounding base stations."
Five potential sites for the tower were identified and the Coopers Shoot site was selected as the preferred option based on radio frequency, environmental and commercial leasing considerations.
Kristen Lhuede and her family own one of the properties adjoining the site. It is rented at the moment but she says they hope to move in at some point.
"We received a letter from the council last week and I have drafted a reply outlining our concerns. It's not just that it would be obstructing the view, it's about having a hideous structure in such a pristine rural environment and the potential effect of the tower on residents," she said.
If the tower goes ahead at the Coopers Shoot location it would be clearly visible from the Cape Byron Lighthouse. Sue Walker is the Area Manager of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
"The Cape Byron Trust is considering writing a submission about the proposal in relation to the visual impact it will have from the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse," she said.
A spokesperson for Byron Shire Council said the proposal will go up before the council early in 2008.