Councillors unhappy with phone tower DA

A CONTROVERSIAL mobile phone tower has been targeted for Brooms Head.

Telecommunications giant, Optus, has submitted a development application (DA) with Clarence Valley Council (CVC) to build the tower on Brooms Head Road. However, Optus may be forced to look for another site.

The application went before CVC's Environment, Economic and Community Committee on Tuesday. An Optus representative was present and spoke to the councillors about the proposal.

He told councillors Optus had examined four other sites - Brooms Head Bowling Club, the disused prawn hatchery, a cleared hill to the north of the prawn hatchery, and the old cattleyards on Sandon River Road - but the Brooms Head Road site was 'the least intrusive'.

The spokesman also told councillors that mobile phone coverage in Brooms Head was currently 'poor to non-existent'.

Councillor Ian Tiley quizzed the Optus representative about the site's close proximity to a residential home which Cr Tiley described as 'quite close'.

However, Cr Tiley was told the preferred Optus site would provide unobstructed coverage due to its elevation.

Clarence Valley Council received 17 submissions opposing the tower, as well as a petition with 346 signatures.

According to council documents, most objections related to adverse health impacts from electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emanating from the tower, and impacts on the adjoining property.

After some discussion, councillors chose to reject the council officer's recommendation that Optus be allowed to build the tower on its preferred site and instead voted to recommend an alternative motion which read:

'That the applicant be refused due to the proximity to the residents; unsatisfactory access; and that there are possible alternative sites including Clarence Peak, the old dump site and other sites along the ridge which should be investigated'.

A full meeting of council will decide the issue next week.

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