Council rejects phone tower

MULLUMBIMBY residents who feared for their health and views have welcomed Byron Shire Council’s decision to refuse the development of a 20-metre-high Optus mobile phone tower on Coolamon Scenic Drive.

The tower created controversy due to its proposed location, which overlooked a residential area and a primary school.

There were concerns that radio frequency emissions may cause health problems such as cancer and brain tumours, and that it would ruin the look and feel of the area.

Councillors did not use health fears as grounds for refusal, but decided to knock it back on the basis of its negative visual impact and the level of public concern.

Local resident Adam Boyd said it was a decision that reflected local sentiment.

“We door-knocked every house within 500 metres of the tower and 92 per cent said they were opposed. A further 7pc were undecided and only 1pc were in favour – so it’s fair to say the community was behind this.”

Mr Boyd said the tower could have grown larger and uglier over time.

“What many people don’t realise is that current and future towers are obliged to take on future infrastructure, so if any other telcos wanted to come in they would have to add to the existing tower.

“So, it may look like a discreet tower with two bars on the development application, but the truth is, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger.”

Mr Boyd said he also still believed that health concerns were valid.

Residents will now enter into discussions with council and Optus to find an alternative site for the tower.

“Everyone wants a tower – that was just such a bad spot for it,” Mr Boyd said.



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