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NBN tower pitch for Pickering Brook sports club

A NEW proposal for a 50-metre high NBN tower at the Pickering Brook Sports Club is expected to go before the Shire of Kalamunda council next month.

It comes after the NBN Co took the shire to the State Administrative Tribunal after councillors rejected a similar development on McCorkill Rd, sparking mediation talks earlier this year.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said a thorough investigation of 11 sites had been undertaken over six months to determine the preferred site for the fixed wireless tower necessary to bring fast, reliable broadband to 180 residents in Pickering Brook.

“We need to consider a range of factors when selecting sites including compliance with local and state planning regulations, access to power and quality coverage for premises in the vicinity which is why the current location was chosen,” she said.

“As part of this investigation we considered a number of sites proposed by the community, however in this case they were unable to meet the requirements above.

“NBN’s consultation with the community and the council with respect to this site was extensive and we remain committed to continue working constructively with all parties involved.”

But Pickering Brook resident Warren Curry said there was community concern over the visual amenity and potential health issues associated with radiation emitted from telecommunication towers.

“I would have a tower close to my property, unreasonably and unacceptably close and blatantly visible,” he said.

“I find it hard to believe there are no suitable sites in the vast areas of bushland around Pickering Brook further away from populations that could be used.

“Workers and patrons of the sports club, and nearby residents, will have a tower right on their doorstep and be exposed to potentially life-threatening health risks.

“It is extraordinary that elected officials and representatives of the people have repeatedly been told of proven concerns but continue to attempt to put towers within close proximity to existing residences and population.”

But the NBN spokeswoman said the development complied with strict safety standards set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

She said that agency regulated levels of electro-magnetic energy in Australia in order to protect all people, including children, in all environments 24-hours a day.

“NBN’s fixed wireless towers are well below the limits set by the regulator.”

Shire of Kalamunda chief executive officer Rhonda Hardy said it was expected the development application would be considered at the December round of council meetings, however concerns over public health would not be part of considerations.

“The shire is not in a position to consider the alleged public health impacts of telecommunications infrastructure when determining an application for development approval,” she said.

“National and international health authorities have determined that these facilities do not have major health impacts.”

Echo News understands if approval of an NBN tower in Pickering Brook is delayed it will have flow on effects to multiple communities.

An NBN report presented to the Shire of Kalamunda, said the Pickering Brook tower was a transmission end site.

“Each fixed wireless facility is connected to another to form a chain of facilities that link back to the fibre network,” the report said.

“The fixed wireless national broadband network will remain unconnected without the transmission network and a break in this chain can have flow on effects to multiple communities.”

By Sarah Brookes

About Sarah Brookes

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