AN NBN tower at Windermere could be approved at Thursday night’s Ballarat City Council meeting — but only if it is moved 230 metres.
In a report to the council, statutory planner Jade Erwin said NBN Co would site the tower further north-west on the Lot 2 Remembrance Drive site due to residents’ concerns about its visual impact and proximity to houses.
“Officers directed the applicant to consider alternative siting options within the subject site,” Ms Erwin said.
“These have been developed to provide for a more comfortable visual amenity interface with the nearest eastern residents and, as required, provide and meet the required coverage objectives.”
But Windermere resident Christine Crawford said it didn’t solve concerns about possible health effects.
“The whole thing stinks. I don’t care how far you move it,” Ms Crawford said.
“It’s bad technology, they should be using fibre optics. It’s a complete and utter walkover of democracy in Australia.”
Ms Crawford said she was also concerned the only testing of the towers took place before they were put up, not after, as well as possible issues with noise and light.
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However, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) said the NBN fixed wireless technology was similar to that used for mobile phones.
“The maximum exposures from NBN towers are very much below the limits set by ARPANSA, whether at the base of the tower or further away, therefore health effects are not expected” an ARPANSA spokesman said.
Ballarat MP Catherine King said she also asked NBN Co to reconsider their preferred site, which was initially on the eastern boundary of the 22-hectare site.
“Ultimately it’s a matter for council, NBN Co and residents but it would be great if an agreed outcome could be reached,” Ms King said.
The NBN application for a 30-metre tower was lodged last November as part of the national high speed broadband network rollout, and has received 21 objections.
So far this year, the council has approved a Crown Castle tower at Learmonth but knocked back a telecommunications tower at Buninyong.