Hans Lovejoy and Chris Dobney
Wooyung residents say they have been kept in the dark over the erection of temporary Telstra communication towers to service the Splendour In The Grass festival from July 26 to 28.
Wooyung Road resident Rob Learmonth told Echonetdaily that no-one from Telstra contacted him or neighbours before the two nine-metre towers were erected close to his home.
‘I am gobsmacked,’ he said. ‘Major infrastructure works have taken place along Wooyung Road to get the fibre optic cable to the site. It is directly opposite and within two hundred metres of homes across the road.’
Questions put to Telstra by Echonetdaily remained unanswered at press time.
The owners of the Splendour site themselves say they were surprised to find that one of the towers had been erected outside the festival site.
‘North Byron Parklands (NBP) was only aware of two towers on our 660-acre land. We were not informed by Telstra of the temporary facility outside our site, on Wooyung Road,’ a NBP spokesperson told Echonetdaily. ‘We were informed of this on Friday by a local resident.’
‘Over the weekend we investigated this facility. Had we known about it we would have consulted with neighbours, of course. We have spoken with Telstra over the weekend and this morning [Monday]. They inform us there was some liaison with neighbours; however, we are not certain how much.’
Mr Learmonth acknowledges the telco has no obligation to advise residents ‘in accordance with the Communications Act and State SEPP planning processes,’ due to the towers’ being temporary.
But he added, ‘we are only a small community and we seem virtually powerless to the bullyboy tactics of Telstra. It all appears to be being done by stealth.’
He fears it could set a precedent and become a semi-permanent arrangement, and asks ‘will the tower be erected on the Wooyung site for all subsequent events and if so how many events?’
NBP says it will consider ‘all our options for future events including temporary solutions for each event, Telstra fibre optic cable and NBN broadband’.
Festival organisers say Telstra has told them the towers will be removed on July 30.