Councillors Warren Polglase (Conservative) and James Owen (Liberal) were quick to move and second the motion to approve a 30.5m Telstra tower at Kingscliff to be used as a mobile phone base station facility at the most recent Tweed Shire Council meeting.
The proposal seeks to replace the current facility attached to the reservoir and build the 30.5.m tower over two lots at Faulks Street, Kingscliff. These two lots are ‘mapped as an Aboriginal Place of Heritage Significance. Specifically, an Aboriginal burial site’.
‘The proposal is required to relocate existing equipment attached to the water reservoirs, to a new monopole facility,’ states the EIS executive summary. The Council requested for the existing telecommunication infrastructure to be removed from the water reservoir due to access safety and maintenance concerns.The proposal of a telecommunication facility is considered critical in ensuring the provision of telecommunication services as the removal of the existing facilities will ‘leave parts of Kingscliff and surrounding areas to lose all coverage as no other facility is located within Kingscliff’.
Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) then put an amendment, seconded by councillor Dr Nola Firth (Greens), to defer the item to a workshop.
Cr Cherry told the meeting that while she took on the points of wanting to improve communication all across our shire as raised by Crs Polglase and Owen.
‘I do take on the points of wanting to improve communication right across our shire.
I believe that during the recent floods that when there were issues in the Casuarina and Kingscliff area – I don’t believe it was related to the location of this facility which is located up on a hill obviously out of flood reach.
‘There are a number of issues that need to be considered here that I would like further information on. One of those issues is the fact that there wasn’t any photo montages of the impact this will have on residents close to the facility… we all live in our back yards and this certainly will have a big impact on them. I know it is only a small number of people but it is a big impact.’
Terry Cleal who has lived on the western side to the proposed tower site since 1984 said he was left feeling powerless in 2019/20 when he had an onsite meeting with representatives from Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd who represented the site developers.
A key concern is the electromagnetic field coming from the tower and Mr Cleal said that they assured him that ‘there are no health issues with this proposal at all’.
If this is the case Mr Cleal is now suggesting that the tower sire be relocated to the new Tweed Valley Hospital.
‘My request now is that if there are no health issues with having this monstrosity near human beings than why not stick a lower telecommunications facility on the top of the already constructed six storey hospital (foisted on our community by the NSW Coalition Government) just a few hundred metres down the road west of their nominated site? That keeps at least some of the over-development in Kingscliff in one place while still facilitating upgraded communication equipment for all to benefit from, and as well protecting the amenity for those who chose to live in this residential domain and not in an industrial estate,’ he said.
Height and Indigenous issues
‘I also have big concerns about the fact that a variation for the height limit was sought. The height limit at that site is ten metres,’ said Cr Cherry.
‘The existing facilities that are providing the service there are 12.5m and this is proposed to be a 31m facility… It is a very substantial structure and is going to have quite an impact on the skyline.
‘I also have concern about the cultural heritage studies on this site. We saw in the cultural impact assessment that this site is an incredibly significant site. A lot, 37 items were found in the 1x1m square test pit that was dug and we are talking about a 7x7m that is going to be disturbed.’
The motion to take the development application to a workshop was passed with Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes and Crs James Owen, and Cr Warren Polglase voting against.