BALLARAT City Council can not “bury its head in the sand” and hope the National Broadband Network technology goes away, according to Councillor Judy Verlin.
Cr Verlin, speaking in support of an NBN tower at Windermere at last night’s Ballarat City Council meeting, said the council had lobbied strongly for Ballarat to be part of the initial NBN roll-out.
“The Ballarat region will be well-placed to do business in a competitive environment,” Cr Verlin said.
But she also asked for an annual monitoring report on the tower’s emissions be carried out.
“We have an obligation to put in as many conditions as possible to alleviate community concerns.”
The NBN tower, located at Lot 2 Remembrance Drive, has caused concern among nearby Cardigan Village residents, mostly about visual amenity and health issues.
Resident Jim Hill, speaking on behalf of residents, said they were not against the tower but against the location.
“We live there for the rural views. We don’t want them desecrated by a telecommunications tower,” Mr Hill said.
He also said NBN’s decision to move the tower 230 metres north-west from its initial location on the 22-hectare site would affect twice as many residents.
Resident Christine Crawford said it was time to consider the future of their children and grandchildren.
“There was a time when cigarettes were fine and DDT was the best way of getting rid of insects,” Ms Crawford said.
“The wonders of modern technology have over-ridden common sense.”
Supporting the motion, Councillor John Philips said he had sat on the roadside and viewed the tower location from the residents’ perspective.
“It will be visible to them but it is needed in the Cardigan Village area,” Cr Philips said.
But Councillor Samantha McIntosh said the council should lead the way in finding better telecommunication options than towers.
“The reality is it’s going to be a big, ugly thing,” Cr McIntosh said.
“We need to find a way forward without the concerning health risks and the impacts on neighbourhood character.”
Mayor Mark Harris also voted against the tower because he didn’t believe the Cardigan Village community wanted it.
Council voted 7-2 in favour of the tower.