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Tower plan anger

Wednesday, 27th March, 2013

Paul McDonald says the construction of a 10-storey phone tower will block his skyline view in Williams Street. Paul McDonald says the construction of a 10-storey phone tower will block his skyline view in Williams Street.

By Kurtis J Eichler

Telstra is planning to build a 35 metre high phone tower in the middle of a residential area.

The telecommunications giant has lodged a development application with Broken Hill City Council for the erection of the pole in the car park of the IGA Fresh Supermarket in Williams Street.

The 10-storey structure will have six mobile phone antennas attached to it.

Submissions are open until today, but a council employee yesterday told the BDT only neighbours could view it.

The decision has been met with fierce opposition from neighbours, who listed a number of issues with the plan including health impacts and the loss of the area's visual beauty.

Paul McDonald is confident people power can defeat the tower being built.

He said the city was a "low skyline town with a big sky" and would block his sky view from his front porch.

"The erection of a 35 metre high pole in the middle of a residential precinct will have a detrimental visual impact on the area because it is out of proportion to the size, scale, context and characteristics of existing structures, landforms and vegetation," Mr McDonald said.

The pole would also limit the use of the site if the supermarket was to close.

"If this were to happen then prospective redevelopment of the site would be restricted to activities that are compatible with the pole."

Radio and television signals could be impacted by the antennas and Mr McDonald feared radiation could be hazardous to the health of school children.

"There are other sites that could be used for this facility such as the aerial farm on the racecourse road or other vacant land outside town."

Telstra spokesperson Scott Whiffin said the company was trying to find an "optimal balance between technical and community needs".

If the structure wasn't built, broadband speeds and network performance would drop.

"Mobile base stations need to be located close to the communities they serve."

Electromagnetic energy emitted from the proposed tower would be a "fraction" of what's permitted under the Australian standards, he said.

Mr Whiffin added there would be no interference to radio or TV signals.

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