Telstra tower development application cut off
DESPITE suggestions from Telstra that its network around the Jetty area in Coffs Harbour was at capacity, Coffs Harbour City Council voted against a development application for an improved tower.
The DA for a 25m tower to be put up at Jetty Oval, Edgar St was unanimously voted against in Thursday night's council meeting.
Telstra NSW site acquisition manager Bob Coyne delivered a public address towards the start of the meeting and highlighted the tower would be designed to cater for the increased demands on the existing network.
Mr Coyne said the construction of the tower in its proposed location was urgent to cater for the increased demand on mobile services.
He noted 84% of the Coffs Harbour population owned a smartphone, an increase from 74% a year ago.
Mr Coyne said traffic on the existing network was doubling about every 18 months.
At present, Mr Coyne said Telstra customers near the Jetty were using the facility at Sealy Lookout.
But the network in the area Mr Coyne had labelled Coffs Harbour Jetty north-side was at its peak.
"This Coffs Harbour Jetty north-side has reached its full technical capacity,” he said.
"Telstra cannot add any further frequencies or improve the performance of that site.”
Mr Coyne said Telstra had assessed other sites such as 31 Collingwood St and between Hogbin and Brodie Drives, but found neither alternative met Telstra's requirements.
But the proposal to replace an existing 16m floodlighting pole in Jetty Park with a 25m telecommunication pole did not sit well with councillors.
Councillor Sally Townley flagged a number of concerns about the impact the tower would have environmentally and esthetically, which she said was shared by more than 400 members of the public.
"In any situation where well over 400 members of the public have taken the opportunity in writing by letters or emails or petitions to make it known they have a strong objection to the location of this tower, then I think we are bound to consider it as a unanimous response by the community,” she said.
Cr Townley also raised concerns of the possible impact the tower could have on wildlife, which Mr Coyne could not answer.
On the grounds of esthetics, impact and not being in the character of area the DA was refused.