Thursday, 3rd April, 2014
By Andrew Robertson
A 10-storey phone tower that was to be erected in Williams Street until residents complained now has a proposed new location.
Telstra needs the tower to improve the coverage and capacity of its mobile network which is being stretched by increasing local demand for smartphones and tablets.
The telecommunications giant originally wanted to erect the 35-metre tall structure in the car park of the IGA supermarket in Williams Street to boost the network’s coverage in the north.
But it withdrew its development application after nearby residents complained the tower would have a detrimental visual impact on the area and could interfere with radio and television signals.
Now it has now found another site, this time in Chapple Lane, between McCulloch and Brazil streets, on a vacant block of land used to store earthmoving machinery.
A new DA has been lodged with Council and is now on public exhibition until April 23.
The DA’s author, Mark Baad, said the proposed site was next to a number of other allotments that were non-residential, including a block used to maintain and store buses.
Mr Baad said the lane saw very little traffic and a number of the nearby dwellings were also owned by the proposed tower’s lessor, Schembri Earthmoving.
Telstra considered a number of other sites for the tower including land around the Regional Aquatic Centre, Jubilee Oval and near the racecourse, he said.
“For various reasons none of these other locations were suitable, either from a technical perspective or for some other reason such as availability of tenure,” he said.
Mr Baad said the city’s two existing towers could no longer cope with demand on its mobile network despite having already undergone substantial and recent upgrading to increase their capacity.
One Chapple Lane resident doubted many would complain about the tower moving into the neighbourhood.
“Down here what difference does it make if you’re looking at that fence, that tree or that stinkpole?
“A few people might complain about - or maybe nobody will complain - but it will be good for everyone’s mobile phones and good for the town.”