Residents of the village of Burringbar in the Tweed Valley are the latest in a string of north coast communities to object to yet another large wireless broadband tower proposed for their area as the NBN rollout continues unabated.
A development application (DA) has been lodged with Tweed Shire Council for the latest facility, proposed by Visionstream on behalf of NBN Co, for a 30-metre high monopole, radio-transmission antennas and ancillary equipment on a 22-hectare property at 79 Upper Burringbar Road.
Residents, especially those in and around Waranga Crescent which backs onto the property and from where the proposed monopole will be visible, say they were only given around two weeks to lodge objections to the DA, which is on exhibition till August 14.
NBN towers proposed for Rosebank and Wyrallah have sparked a backlash from those communities with fears about potential long-term health risks as well as visual amenity expressed at recent public meetings.
On Monday, NBN Co representatives and contractors faced a heated meeting at Wyrallah Hall, telling concerned residents there was no scientific evidence linking towers that emit radio frequencies to adverse health impacts.
And tomorrow at Rosebank Hall, from 3pm till 6pm, the company representatives will hold a similar community-information session in response to objections from that village.
The residents living around the Burringbar property say their objections include the facility’s proximity to local schools and childcare centre, the tower being a huge eyesore, a drop in property values, and potential health impacts.
Jackie Tilsley, in her submission on the DA, said many residents in the Waranga Crescent area oppose the tower, which they say will have a significant impact on their views.
Ms Tilsley said some homes there were less than 150 metres from the proposed facility.
‘Scientific evidence on the health risks as a result of exposure to EM (electromagnetic) radiation is mounting,’ she said.
‘These epidemiological studies are relatively new, and as such, have not yet caught up with the technology.
‘As this new area of research evolves and new information is presented, opinions will change.’
Ms Tilsley said the facility’s location near Burringbar Primary School, Gumnuts Childcare Centre and Burringbar Sports Club and fields was ‘of grave concern’.
‘Interestingly, none of the studies that show a correlation between these towers and the incidence of cancers reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations,’ she said.
‘Despite the fact that NBN proposes an emission of 0.029 per cent of the allowable maximum, it now comes to light that accumulating epidemiological literature pertaining to the health effects of mobile phones and their base stations suggests that previous exposure standards based on the thermal effects of EMF (electromagnetic field) should no longer be regarded as tenable.’
She said environmental impacts on the site needed consideration as the area’s ‘ecosystem provides a significant wildlife corridor between existing habitats’.
Ms Tilsley said the scenic landscape value of Burringbar would also be ‘unreasonably affected’.
In its DA, NBN Co says the site is appropriately located ‘so as to minimise visual impact on the immediate and surrounding area’.
It also said the facility ‘operates within all current and relevant standards and is regulated by Australian Communications and Media Authority’.
The property on which the facility is proposed to be built is owned by Edward Kuipers and Deborah Burton.
Echonetdaily was unable to contact them for comment.