There are plans to build a new mobile phone tower in an environmentally sensitive part of the Byron Shire.
There are plans to build a new mobile phone tower in an environmentally sensitive part of the Byron Shire. Contributed

Optus wants tower in 'critically important' environment area

TWO Byron Shire councillors said they would only be "chasing rabbits down a rabbit hole” if the council did not approve a new Optus mobile phone tower.

Optus has lodged a development application to council to construct a mobile tower in the North Byron Parklands, given the influx of people the area receives for music festivals each year.

The tower would also benefit residents in Wooyung and Yelgun - which has been identified as a mobile blackspot area.

Councillors Paul Spooner and Alan Hunter said they supported staff recommendations to move ahead with the project and moved an amendment to call on councillors to give their consent moving forward.

"I don't see anything that has occurred that can back us up for knocking us back,” Cr Spooner said.

Cr Spooner said if the council was to knock back the development would be "hypocritical”.

"Some residents should be able to access mobile access while others shouldn't, that's hypocrisy,” he said.

However, the council instead voted in favour of Mayor Simon Richardson's motion to postpone their decision until the relevant ecology and environmental impact studies are seen by all councillors.

"This is not about being anti-phone tower - I don't wear a tin hat - I have no issues for a mobile tower in that site, it is simply acknowledging this is a critically important environmental area,” Cr Richardson said.

"I want to find out about the effects, I don't have the information it wasn't provided to me or the community.

"It's about do we put this thing in an environment where we can't categorically say it doesn't have an impact.

"We lose nothing by asking for a month's extension to get those answers.”



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