WHILE Herne Hill and Pickering Brook residents rally against plans to build NBN towers next to their homes, investigations by Echo News has discovered more than 20 towers will be rolled out across a host of suburbs in the region.
NBN Co Western Australia corporate affairs manager Philippa Perry said fixed wireless towers, not fibre optic cabling, were proposed for numerous locations in the City of Swan, Shire of Mundaring, and Shire of Kalamunda.
“In Mundaring towers are proposed for Chidlow East, Chidlow North, Parkerville North, Sawyers Valley, Stoneville, South Stoneville, Wooroloo East and Wooroloo West,” she said.
“In the Shire of Kalamunda towers are proposed in Bickley and Pickering Brook while in the City of Swan in Bailup, Bullsbrook, Bullsbrook North, Bullsbrook West, Dayton, Millendon, Gidgegannup, Red Hill, Herne Hill, Brigadoon, South Chittering and Upper Swan.”
In a letter sent by contractors for the NBN Co, Herne Hill and surrounding residents were advised the company was planning to build a 30m tower at the Swan Valley Sporting Club on Great Northern Hwy.
A former Telstra employee, who lives in Herne Hill, who asked to remain anonymous, said the Swan Valley was ‘shafted’ by the proposal to deliver high-speed broadband services.
“Whilst the golden triangle Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane get NBN fibre optic cabling many WA residents are going to get the dreaded tower,” he said.
“This wi-fi technology is useless, especially in cloudy weather or during solar flares which happen more than most people realise.
“Not to mention the fact the health effects haven’t been fully explored yet due to the newness of the technology.”
Last month Kalamunda shire councillors rejected a development application to construct a 50m high NBN tower in Pickering Brook.
Ms Perry said the NBN was currently assessing its options in relation to its next step but remained committed to working with council and the community to deliver the NBN to Pickering Brook.
Pickering Brook resident Geoff Cheong said he was not opposed to the NBN, however residents were strongly against to the location of the fixed wireless tower and its dish.
“In arriving at their decision to locate the tower only 80m from our back door, four other sites were rejected on the basis of visual impact, perceived difficulty in land tenure and vegetation clearing, the effect on short term tourist accommodation and the effect on possible future residential development,” he said.
“Apart from the land tenure and vegetation clearing, most of the reasons used to reject the other sites also apply to the site that was chosen in Pickering Brook.
“Visual impact has a massive effect on the surrounding properties with the tower visible from almost every aspect of the surrounding properties and above the tree line from Pickering Brook Rd.”
Mr Cheong added the World Health Organisation acknowledged more research was needed into the health risks associated with electromagnetic radiation.
“WHO acknowledges more research is required to assess the health risks associated with mobile phone or tablet use, and that any adverse effects, no matter how small, could have major implications for public health around the world,” he said.
Ms Perry said NBN would continue to undertake community consultation for proposed fixed wireless towers that attracted community interest.
“NBN and its delivery partners engage with local residents and councils via letters, emails, meetings, presentations and community information sessions,” she said,
“We have already held community information sessions regarding towers at Parkerville North, Stoneville South, Chidlow North and Wooroloo West and will hold an information session in Herne Hill next week.”
Ms Perry said the NBN would start to become progressively available in these areas from the beginning of next year.
BY SARAH BROOKES