Telstra bows to community fears over phone tower and shifts site

TELSTRA has withdrawn its application to build a mobile phone tower at Vic Zealand Memorial Reserve in Shoalhaven Heads.

The proposal received a mixed reaction from residents torn between health concerns and the need for improved phone coverage.

Telstra now plans to apply to build the tower on Crown land behind the Shoalhaven Heads rural fire station.

Telstra intends to lodge a new development application with Shoalhaven City Council.

When the new DA is lodged the community will have a minimum of two weeks to provide feedback on the site.

Shoalhaven Heads Communtiy Forum member Anne-Louise O’Connor said the community’s primary concern with the original site was that it was on the sports oval where children play.

“I think this is a good compromise behind the fire shed,” she said.

“As a resident I don’t personally have a problem with phone or internet service but for the village it’s wonderful.

“It will also be an improvement for visitors who have a lot of trouble in peak holiday time as the current system can’t cope.”

Emily Banks was among residents who opposed the tower being built near the sports field. She lives near the site. 

Her daughter Ceradwen has multiple mid-brain lesions and suffers from a range of health issues including seizures that occur every day, poor fine motor skills, difficulty with planning and shapes, hearing loss and double vision.

Mrs Banks said the lesions were being monitored through regular MRIs, and while they were stable “at the moment”, she feared that would change if the phone tower was given the go-ahead.

“As far as we’ve researched and been told, and it’s backed up by the most recent findings from the World Health Organisation, electro-magnetic radiation is carcinogenic to humans,” she said.

While the radiation was dangerous to all people, Mrs Banks feared her daughter was especially at risk because of her brain lesions, particularly as top brain surgeons had said electro-magnetic radiation could cause brain tumours.

“It’s just very concerning for us because we bought our property in February not knowing there was going to be a phone tower across the road,” Mrs Banks said.

“We would never have bought a home close to a phone tower.”

WORRIED: Emily Banks and her daughter Ceradwen live across the road from the Shoalhaven Heads sporting fields, where Telstra were planning to build a mobile phone tower. The application has now been withdrawn.

WORRIED: Emily Banks and her daughter Ceradwen live across the road from the Shoalhaven Heads sporting fields, where Telstra were planning to build a mobile phone tower. The application has now been withdrawn.