A proposal to install free public-access wifi internet throughout Mullumbimby’s CBD has met resistance, with a public meeting scheduled for September 17.
Additionally a website has been launched – www.mullumwifi.com – which explores possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and comparative safety standards set by other countries.
Co-organiser of the Mullum meeting and the recently launched website, Peter Nielsen, told The Echo that whether it’s a CBD hotspot, NBN wireless links or smart meters, ‘All of these technologies emit similar microwave radiation which indiscriminately affects the wellbeing of the entire community’.
‘Our group is not opposed to these technologies as such, but the present situation is that people do not have sufficient information to make informed decisions about its acceptance in daily use.
‘There is now wide recognition that living organisms can be affected by far lower levels of electromagnetic radiation than previously thought possible.
‘There are numerous scientific papers explaining how this occurs, and the prospects for humanity if this trend continues without improved public awareness and safety regulations. Many countries are far ahead of us in this regard.’
Another information night is also planned by the proponents of free Mullum wifi, to be held at the Mullumbimby RSL on Wednesday September 25. Mullum Mac manager Obi McDonald-Saint will present his plans before opening the floor to the panel for discussion.
Chaired by Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson, the panel will explore the opportunities that would be created by the initiative.
Mr McDonald-Saint says the meeting also aims to discuss the concerns members of the community may have with potential health risks, safety standards and impacts on children of wifi technology.
Mayor Richardson told The Echo, ‘I hope the meeting can serve as a way to bring community together as opposed to solidifying opposing views’.
Amid the growing concern among some residents, Telstra has announced it has turned on a new mobile phone tower in Mullumbimby to improve reception.
A Telstra spokesperson says that the area will now experience improved mobile coverage with a new dedicated mobile-phone base station.
When asked by The Echo what levels of radiation to expect, Telstra’s media spokesperson replied, ‘Electromagnetic Energy (EME) emissions are an issue of concern for some residents. When it comes to EME, we rely on the expert scientific advice of national and international health authorities including the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for overall assessments of health and safety impacts. The maximum EME the base station will emit is 0.08 per cent (the maximum allowable limit is 100 per cent).’
Recently The Nimbin Good Times reported that communities in Lillian Rock and Barkers Vale have been stirred into action after a 50-metre tower was proposed nearby. The Times says, ‘residents from Homeleigh through Barkers Vale have been undertaking a full blood count through health professionals to form a baseline to refer to should towers be erected near them.’ Any change in blood counts in the future could result in litigation, claim the residents.