Sandy Bay residents, already concerned at the proposed Optus mobile phone tower on Woolworths, are shocked to discover that the site may expand to include two additional Telstra transmitters with radiation levels to triple.

Local resident Grant Jackson said, “After discovering plans on the RFNSA for additional panels, we are concerned that the site is already growing”.

Optus clarified this today stating they are only planning to erect the three panels that their proposal covers, that Telstra had not contacted Optus regarding their additional panels and had not lodged a co-location application for their facility with them. Optus stated they are unaware of Telstra’s plans for the site.

The Sandy Bay Community Action Group are seeking clarification from Telstra on their plans for the site. The RFNSA website shows a proposed two additional panels.

Sensitive sites ignored

Carriers are required to consider community sensitive sites such as schools, childcare centres, nearby multi-story residences, and residences that are on elevated ground. Documents released by Optus reveal that no analysis of these sensitive sites has been conducted. Local primary schools have not even been advised.

“The community feel sensitive community sites are being ignored” says community spokesperson Anthea Hopkins. “Albeura St Primary is only 350 m from this tower and is in an area of overlap with an existing tower – why weren’t they notified? Why wasn’t the Education Minister, Nick McKim notified? Why weren’t the Parents and Friends Associations notified? A number of local residents back directly onto the proposed tower, some have bedrooms at the level of these transmitters – none of these sites have been identified or assessed as sensitive sites according to a report provided at our meeting with Optus recently”

Time’s up for the “Low impact” regulations

Legislation written before we had a national mobile phone network in 1997 is now being used to ride rough-shod over local communities, even though mobile coverage in urban areas is good.
Optus, for example, have self assessed their tower proposal as “low impact” which has allowed them to avoid any local planning process to date.

Carriers should be building towers in rural black spot areas – the residents of rural communities who have no coverage should feel ripped off that they get no coverage while carriers use the legislation to pad high-profit urban areas with seemingly unnecessary towers.’

Community meeting

Sandy Bay residents, including the close to 400 signatories to petitions against the proposal, are invited to an update on the current situation at the Grosvenor St Anglican Church (cnr Grosvenor and Lord Sts) on Sunday 3 July at 12:30pm.

We anticipate a big turnout. The Hobart City Council is meeting to consider the Optus Telstra mobile phone tower on Monday 4 July to consider external legal advice on the matter. The Sandy Bay Community Action Group plan to send a strong message about their views!