Protest likely over Mt Helen NBN tower proposal

The Ballarat City Council has recommended an NBN tower in bushland at Mount Helen and is expected to face staunch community opposition tonight.

The NBN Co application for a 35-metre-tall fixed wireless tower at Eddy Avenue in Mount Helen has received 83 public objections.

But council officers are supporting the tower, which would provide high-speed broadband coverage to the Buninyong area.

Councillors will consider whether to grant the permit at tonight’s meeting. 

A number of objectors are expected to make verbal submissions.

Along with a group of locals opposing the tower’s construction due to environmental and health concerns, DLP Senator John Madigan said the council’s decision to recommend an “almost identical NBN tower proposal” near Buninyong after not recommending a similar one in 2012 was hypocritical.

In 2012, Crown Castle’s Davies Road tower was knocked back by the council due to its height, location, design and appearance, following a strong community campaign against it.

“The biggest difference between Crown Castle’s 2012 NBN proposal and NBN Co’s 2013 proposal is the name on the cover page,” Senator Madigan said.

“Crown Castle applied to build an NBN fixed wireless tower in  protected bushland in Buninyong. Ballarat council’s statutory planners recommended the application be refused and it was voted down unanimously.”

Council officers have supported the application subject to a number of conditions, and their report addresses the development’s potential environmental, health, visual, amenity and bushfire impacts.

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