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Urgent meeting for tower proposal

Saturday, 14th February, 2015

By Erica Visser

City Council’s management has recommended that Telstra’s plan to erect a 10-storey phone tower at the North Family Play Centre site be approved.

Councillors scheduled an urgent meeting for Wednesday next week to discuss the controversial proposal after the telecommunications giant summoned it to the Land Environment Court (LEC).

The company has appealed Council’s rejection of its previous Development Application to erect the 35-metre structure at a vacant site at Chapple Lane.  

Council would have to face Telstra in the LEC if it knocks back the latest proposal to build it at its alternative site, the North Family Play Centre.

“There’s no pressure being put on Council by Telstra... A decision on the North Family Play Centre surrounding a report is what we’ll be discussing on Wednesday night,” Mayor Cuy said.

“I can’t predict a decision. Whatever that decision is will be up to the information Council has gathered over the last six months.

“We’ve put this meeting forward so we can actually have some direction leading into the pending LEC case.”

Telstra has spent two years trying to put the tower at sites deemed suitable around north Broken Hill but has each time met with a vocal backlash from nearby residents and schools.

A report to Council from principal of a NSW planning consultancy, Alan Grimwood, released yesterday, found that it was in the public interest to allow Telstra to build at the McCulloch Street site.

“The facility will bring benefits to the residential and business community through improved mobile phone and internet services,” Mr Grimwood said.

“On balance, perceived adverse impacts associated with the facility are acceptable and can be mitigated by the recommended conditions of consent.”

The report stated that a drop in property values was not a consideration when looking at a DA.

Residents near the North Family Play Centre land have previously expressed fears over the health impact of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) on residents, school children, and anyone regularly using the park or Regional Aquatic Centre.

Many also believed the tower will simply be an eyesore in a part of the city that is often showcased to tourists.

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