Residents seek tower extension
A PLAN to build a 45m mobile phone tower at Sapphire Beach has prompted residents to start a campaign asking for more time to study the detail and make submissions.
Optus plans to build the tower at 9-9A Gaudrons Rd in an effort to increase network capacity and allow for rising population in the area.
The community consultation period finishes this week after a public notice was placed in The Advocate on November 15 and letters were sent to residents in the immediate vicinity.
However, resident group spokesman Dr Jay Ruthnam said several concerns made it difficult to see why the chosen location was necessary and they questioned whether a mast the size of the one in Orlando St, Coffs Harbour, would suit the site.
"While locals would appreciate better mobile phone services and faster internet connections for the Northern Beaches, the visual impact of the tower and equipment buildings following the recent highway construction, would severely degrade the suburb's visual appeal," Dr Ruthnam said.
He said siting the new infrastructure further inland would likely have the same result in improving Optus service and there was general consensus the current plan was "highly unsuitable".
"Existing phone towers are already located on the hills behind Sapphire," he said.
Tom and Valerie Caldwell said they were not directly impacted by the plan, yet agreed with Dr Ruthnam's main points.
In a letter to Coffs Harbour MP Luke Hartsuyker, the Caldwells see the residents' view as a campaign against the location of the tower and not one attempting to block its construction entirely.
"Dr Ruthnam reasonably protests at the apparent rush to finalise this approval and I think it only reasonable that an extension of time be granted to allow the full details of the proposal to be properly disseminated within the surrounding community," Mr Caldwell wrote.