Friday 5 December 2008

Telstra off to court over Clifton tower

Telstra served a notice yesterday on all the submitters against their recent proposal to build a 27 meter communications tower in a residential area at Clifton Beach.

I reported about this in late October, when Cairns Regional Council rejected their application to go ahead with the new structure, amid strong local objection.

Telstra will now take this to the Planning and Environment Court. There is 10 days in which to notify of an intention to be heard in this matter.

The Combined Beaches Residents Association are not impressed. "Don't you think it's amazing that a multinational company the size of Telstra, are fighting to have their monster high steel monster in a location where local residents and Council have stood up and said no?," they said.

A letter was served yesterday to all respondents, Cairns Regional Council, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, Department of Main Roads and over 400 submitters.

Cairns Council ruled that the proposal involved a re-zoning of land and therefore was inconsistent with the current CairnsPlan. Locals say that there would be significant loss of visual amenity to the residential area of Clifton Beach, especially as it would be situated on a cleared block of land, sitting right beside the Captain Cook Highway. They are already reeling from the construction of a line-up of GlenCorop apartment highrises, at the main entrance to the beachside suburb.

The Telstra tower was also rejected on the grounds that the health impacts are relatively unknown. "Scientific debate is split over the issue of whether the microwave energy generated is a risk to human health or not," a Clifton resident said. "Many scientific studies show a direct relationship between illness, especially cancer and the use of these new technologies."

The local residents association accuse Telstra of wasting government money, in this appeal. Ratepayers and taxpayers will foot the bill for something that will be "unsightly, unnecessary and pose potential health risks due to its proximity to residential houses. It beggars belief and common sense," they say.

However Telstra Country Wide's Area General Manager Wally Donaldson told CairnsBlog that Telstra is not wasting taxpayers money in caring out this appeal. "We're a private company," he says.

Wally Donaldson doesn't want to interfere in the process now before the Planning Court.

"We think that the decision by Cairns Regional Council is not justified, that's why we are contesting this," he said this morning. "We're only building this [communications tower] because there is a demand for increased services on the Northern Beaches," Wally Donaldson says.

Indeed, the growth on the Northern Beaches of Cairns has recorded some of the most significant population increases over the last 5 years. Property development, including the controversial new Smithfield Town centre, is all proceeding to meet the demand for those that want to live close to the water.

Whilst I was chatting to Wally Donaldson on my Telstra Next G (3G) mobile, it dropped out, and I lost the call. Where's Wally?, I wondered!? However, he telephoned me straight back. "See, that's why we need more coverage around this region," Wally quipped.

I have to agree.


Anonymous said...

Surely they can find another place for this?

Anonymous said...

Building the tower is the cheapest option for Telstra, there are other ways they can get the coverage. As I said once before on a blog, I would rathr Telstra spent the money giving rural Australia coverage than providing those of us who live in Clifton Beach better mobile coverage. As a submitter, we will be joining the Action as a Co Respondent. I know it is hard for people to visualize the height of the tower, however, take a look at the Clifton Village Shopping Centre and double it. The highest point of Clifton Village is 15m, the tower will be nearly twice as high.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as Mike is having trouble with his mobile coverage and cannot seem to live without it for one minute, we might assume that other residents in Yorkey's are having similar issues, then here is my suggetion to Wally and Telstra!

Instead of putting the 27m communications tower in a residential area at Clifton Beach where no one wants this monster, you can put it in at Yorkey's where at least one person highly desires it.

Problem solved! No need for court cases!

How about it Knob residents?.....

Anonymous said...

I reckon Tel$tra should stick the tower right on top of the Knob. It can also serve as a complementary enhancement of the visual splendour of the millionaires' McMansions stuck all over it. Maybe make it in the shape of a big dollar sign?

Anonymous said...

The silence from the Knob residents re having a 27m telecommunications tower gracing your suburb with its potenitally dangerous radioactivity is not so appealing eh?

I cannot understand your attitude myself?