The controversial roll-out of Telstra’s 5G network across the Shire has taken another step forward, with the announcement of a new proposed installation in the heart of Byron Bay.
As opposition to the upgrades continues to boil, the telco announced its intention to upgrade its existing mobile tower on the corner of Fletcher Street and Williams Lane in last week’s advertisment in The Echo.
That announcement also invited the community to make written submissions in relation to the plan.
Yet the submission process has been criticised as a token gesture rather than genuine consultation, with Telstra yet to answer questions from The Echo regarding the degree to which community submissions are taken into account.
8 Acacia St site approved
5G opponents have expressed anger and dismay at the latest proposed installation, which is the eleventh proposed 5G upgrade in the Shire.
‘Byron Bay PS is just 300 metres from this tower,’ safe technology activist Rinat Strahlhofer said.
‘Of all the 11 proposed 5G upgrades, five are within a 500m radius of a school or child care centre, which goes against Department of Education policy’.
The group that Ms Strahlhofer co-founded, Northern Rivers for Safe Technology, is also continuing its fight against the proposed 5G upgrade in the Byron A&I Estate, which is within 500 metres of a pre-school and childcare centre.
This is despite the fact that Telstra told the group on November 10 that it intends to go ahead with the upgrade, ignoring hundreds of letters of opposition.
Landowner of the tower site, Andrew Simmons, is yet to reply to Echo questions around community concerns. According to a land title search of 8 Acacia Street, Mr Simmons is co-owner with Peta Sarah Lloyd-Harris.
The Echo also asked to confirm whether the Simmons family are still part of Site R&D, which is the ‘local’ landowner consortium pushing to develop West Byron against considerable public opposition.
Meanwhile, Ms Strahlhofer said a movement was building among school communities who opposed upgrades that were in close proximity to educational institutions.
‘Periwinkle [pre-school], Cape Byron, Busy Kids, Byron Public are now informing parents to help hold a vigil to ensure no technicians come to upgrade the towers to 5G,’ she said.
‘Telstra are in for a PR nightmare – if their technicians and equipment show up in Byron, a red alert will be sent out and concerned parents and concerned community members will take to the streets to prevent this upgrade.
‘Protecting our children and community is more important than faster [internet] speeds.’