A ten-year dispute over the Telstra tower in Suffolk Park appears to have been finally resolved between Byron Shire Council and the telco.
Councillors agreed at their Thursday meeting to authorise general manager Ken Gainger to sign an in-principle agreement for an access deed for the site.
Cr Rose Wanchap voted against the motion.
During the morning’s public access, Telstra’s regional NSW manager Bob Coin told the chamber that ten years ‘is far too long’ to wait for an agreement and that Telstra wants to settle the matter in two months.
He offered $50,000 to cover the ten years’ rent arrears and increased Telstra’s initial per annum rental offer of $12,500 to $14,684 (ex GST).
Meanwhile Suffolk Park resident Peter Wegner told the chamber the new report on the tower ‘goes a long way to alleviating community concerns’, and he only had minor misgivings, which included the tower being too close to residents.
Cr Rose Wanchap cheekily asked Mr Coin if he would be happy to live near the tower, to which he replied that while he doesn’t live close to any towers, he believes the radiation is safe.
‘My father was in an intensive-care unit in hospital where there is radiation from towers… schools have wi-fi these days. If it wasn’t safe we wouldn’t be doing it.’
And asked to guarantee the tower would not be increased in capacity, he said, ‘The tower will always stay low impact’.