Residents of Wilsons Creek and surrounding areas are stepping up their campaign against the proposed Telstra microwave tower that currently has a development application (DA) submitted to Byron Shire Council. They will have their next community meeting this Wednesday June 27 at 6pm at Wilsons Creek Hall.
They are calling the campaign ‘”Not in my backyard” ‘because your backyard will undoubtedly be next one day soon if we don’t get the legislation changed,’ said local resident Jamie Blacklaw.
Locals are questioning why a communications facility which relies on ‘line of site’ to operate is being placed in the bottom of a heavily vegetated valley.
The DA states quite clearly ‘Antennas cannot be placed below a topographical line… otherwise they will not be effective in providing the service to the user yet this is what is being proposed, the top of the tower will be at an elevation 150m below Huonbrook and 100m below Upper Wilsons Creek,’ said Ms Blacklaw.
‘Is Telstra installing this only because it is being paid to do so under the Black Spot Program? ’
Questions regarding the impact of radiation from the tower have also been raised with eight homes close to the tower site likely to have direct exposure and the top of the array pointed directly at one of the homes.
‘The Australian Safety Standards for radiation exposure are in some cases more than 1,000 times higher than other countries and have not been adjusted since the mid 1990s when there were virtually no mobile phones nor towers,’ explained Ms Blacklaw.
‘We are challenging the federal government and will, if pushed, instigate a class action because once you read a few of the more than 20,000 unacknowledged scientific, medical and engineering reports you cannot help but notice that virtually every common health problem you hear spoken of every day can be linked back to radiation exposure.’
Locals say they have had a scientist working in the industry confirm that the levels of microwave exposure provided by Telstra are incorrect.
The Mt Nardi 2000-2015 Species Exodus report that has been submitted to UNESCO by local naturalist and ethnobotanist Mark Broomhall claims that with the ‘advent of digital wireless technology in the years 2002 to 2004, that I began to notice a decline in insect diversity and population’ in the Mt Nardi World Heritage Area.
He goes on to state that with the addition of enhanced 3G technology in 2009 and 4G in 2013 there have been further decreases in bird and insect species in the area.
‘Apart from the intense radiation of several close by residences, we believe its usefulness as a public service is doubtful and at best harmful,’ said one resident.
Though Telstra has indicated that the facility will only be a 3G facility there are concerns that they could add 4G or 5G without consent.
‘The tower area has a history of instability with cars having been bogged in the sealed road in front of the exchange as a result of water seeping from the site. Has Telstra not done any geo-technical evaluation of the site?’ questioned another resident of the area who believes that the DA appears to be deficient in this information.
‘Site instability for a 36.5m concrete tower would undoubtedly raise liability issues.
Residents are asking why, with so many areas now saturated with microwaves, locals shouldn’t be able to have a say in whether or not they want these electromagnetic waves in their local environments.