Update 22 October:
Byron Shire Council have confirmed with Echonetdaily that no DA is required as the tower ‘falls under the SEPP Infrastructure and as such does not require council approval.’
Update 19 October: Byron Shire Council is now saying that the NBN tower may not require a development application (DA) from council.
Councillors had been contacted by members of the Main Arm community and were asked to resolve at Council’s most recent meeting on Thursday, October 18, for it to lodge a submission to Visionstream and NBN Co, opposing the installation.
The reasons provided to councillors were:
(a) proximity to Durrumbul Public School, Durrumbul Preschool and various residences;
(b) the likely later co-location of future services;
(c) disruption of visual amenity for much of the Main Arm valley.
While Mayor Simon Richardson was attempting to put the motion forward for council to make a submission to NBN opposing the tower, staff member Shannon Burt advised him it wasn’t required. Ms Burt stated that the Council are currently working with NBN in the ‘pre-consult’ stage and that a DA would be required.
It now appears that information was incorrect. Byron Shire Council will clarify if a DA is required on Monday.
A proposed 45m NBN tower within 500m of the local school, pre-school and residences has outraged the Main Arm community.
A letter from NBN to residents of Durrumbul, in Main Arm, states that they don’t require council approval for a 45m tower that will dominate the local environment.
‘Within only a matter of days since the community resoundingly rejected a Telstra tower at Wilsons Creek, NBN are now proposing an even larger, more visually intrusive tower at Durrumbul,’ said local community member Anton Vanderbyl.
‘The 45m lattice type tower, that is 10m higher than the one put forward at Wilsons Creek, is proposed to be centrally located in the escarpment landscape within 500m from Durrumbul school and be visible from Mullumbimby.’
Do NBN need approval?
In a recent letter NBN have informed residents that ‘the proposed facility is classified as exempt and complying development under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007. Under these provisions, the proposal does not require planning approval from the Byron Shire Council.’
However, it appears council disagrees and in Thursday’s (October 19) Council meeting Shannon Burt, Byron’s sustainable environment and economy director, said that a development application (DA) was required to be submitted by NBN due to the height of the tower. She stated that NBN are currently in the pre-consultation stage with council regarding the tower.
Within 500m of school and pre-school
‘We are concerned about the tower,’ said the director of Durrumbul Pre-School, Anna Benson.
‘Obviously we don’t want it anywhere near children. It needs to be as far away as possible from all people.’
According to the NSW governments education policy on mobile telecommunications facilities the education department does not support or endorse the installation of any mobile telecommunications facilities on school property and ‘the department has a preference for a distance of at least 500 metres from the boundary of the property.’
NBN promise not to install
You could call it predicting the future or perhaps just having foresight but as early as 2015, with the role out of the NBN network, Anton Vanderbyl raised his concerns regarding the impact of fixed wireless technology with then communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
‘A lot of people in this are have made a conscious decision to move to this area to avoid EMR (electro-magnetic radiation) pollution,’ said Mr Vanderbyl.
On April 7 2015 Mr Vanderbyl received a letter from Mr Turnbull that contained a promise from NBN ‘that if there is clear community opposition to the use of fixed wireless technology to provide better broadband, that are would then be services by a satellite solution.’
The question now is will NBN stick to their word?
If you are interested in finding out more about the proposed installation of the tower then join the local community at a meeting being held this Thursday, October 25 at Durrumbul Hall at 6pm.
NBN is also holding a community information session at Kohinur Hall on Tuesday, October 30 from 3 till 6pm. Comments can be submitted to NBN on the proposal until Wednesday November 7 via [email protected], PO Box 5452, West End Qld. 4101 or call 1300 745 210.