Byron Council has made an 11th-hour submission opposing the construction of 5G mobile cells in the heart of Mullumbimby.
Telstra is planning to build the facility at 95 Dalley Street as part of the rollout of 5G technology across the country.
Hundreds of locals have signed petitions and submitted letters opposing the project on the grounds that 5G technology will, or may, have negative health impacts on both humans and the Mullumbimby bat colony.
They are particularly concerned about the Dalley Street tower because of its close proximity to two local schools, and a bus stop used by hundreds of school children each day.
Last Thursday’s Council planning meeting heard that a Council staff member had already given approval for the structure under delegated authority.
However, councillors effectively overturned that decision at the meeting, voting instead to make a late submission to Telstra indicating their opposition to the plan.
More information needed
They passed a motion stating that Council did not support the upgrade and continued to support a moratorium on 5G, until information it had requested previously was provided.
‘My particular concern is that we’ve asked Telstra for information about 5G in the past, and they haven’t responded,’ Greens councillor Sarah Ndiaye said.
‘I think unless or until they provide us with that information there’s a question mark hanging over this project and the technology more generally.’
Comprehensive review requested
Council also reiterated its request for a commitment by a government body to undertake a comprehensive review of the cumulative health impacts of 5G technology, and an indication of who held responsibility for monitoring these effects.
It also called on the State Government to review the current planning process for the installation of small cells, and consideration of any possible improvements.
The motion was passed unanimously by councillors.