Story & photo Eve Jeffery
Everyone seems eager to have access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) as soon as possible but not all local people are so keen on the large microwave towers required to ensure people in some parts of our region can access it.
In December, Lismore Greens Councillor Vanessa Ekins wrote on social media that the ‘NBN rollout in Lismore includes construction of 18 microwave towers! I wonder where they will be located?’
Now the village of Fernleigh is starting to feel the shadow of a tall tower creep over the landscape as representatives of the NBN Co come to town.
Residents are becoming alarmed about one possible site, which is in close proximity to the school. Research is very inconclusive on issues surrounding electromagnetic radiation and its effects on human health.
Resident Angus Maciver told Echonetdaily that his family, as well as many others, have been approached by NBN for use of their land.
‘A couple of months ago we received a call from representatives of the National Broadband Network asking if we were interested in leasing space on our hill to them so that they could build a 35-metre concrete radio tower’, says Angus.
‘We said we would never do so. We then discovered that NBN were approaching neighbours who also rejected the approach, although we understand that one may have expressed interest.’
Mr Maciver says that a number of people in the district have expressed their dismay that such a tower could be built in such a beautiful part of NSW.
‘It would be a considerable eyesore,’ he says. ‘Our property and those of our neighbours are within easy walking distance of the Fernleigh primary school, which has 20 pupils.
‘We have children as do a number of our neighbours. We are particularly concerned about the health issues surrounding these radio towers.’
Mr Maciver says that NBN quote from a scientific report that states that they are safe.
‘There are an equal number of scientists who say they are not. Nobody can justify exposing young brains to these towers. There seems no reason why the tower could not be built on resumed land around the new expressway or elsewhere away from families.’
A petition is currently being signed and a flyer has gone out to people in the district advising them of the opposition to the tower. In addition the local state member and the local federal member have been approached.
‘If you google “NBN towers” you will find out that there is considerable opposition to the towers being built near populated places throughout the country’, says Angus.
‘Andrew Wilkie, the federal independent member in Tasmania, has stated that we should err on the side of caution when not enough is known of the health effects.’
A petition addressed to the NBN Co to oppose the towers is ready to be signed at the Newrybar general store, or you can sign in online at www.communityrun.org/p/stopfernleightower.