Councillor Mark Way says he has been inundated with calls from residents concerned about Optus’ plans to construct a mobile tower above shops at Jones Beach.
Clr Way, who lives in the area, says he is upset to find that the Commonwealth, rather than Council, has the final say on the approval.
“You don’t even need a DA for these things. The first I heard about it was a letterbox drop from Optus, but I consider the community consultation they are undertaking is superficial.
“No-one I know has been able to get in touch with the person named in the Community Consultation letter, including Council directors.”
The Bugle was also unsuccessful.
On the consultation website, it says that “Optus considers this proposed facility does not require council approval because it is a low impact facility or complies with relevant State planning legislation.”
But residents do not feel the 10.7 metre addition to the highest of the Johnson Street shops can be described as ‘low impact’.
Kathryn Telford, the owner of nearby Jones Beach Café & Bakery, says she had lodged an objection based on the potential for financial loss because of the perceived health risk her customers are concerned about.
“Because it is up so high, the visual impact on the views out to the beach will be ugly, but people who talk to me are more distressed about the health risks.
“Even if this is a perceived, not actual, risk it has the potential to be bad news for the businesses in the street as people avoid the area.
“Optus says it needs to be there to improve its coverage in the area, but there are other issues at stake.
“I’ve never known them to build something like this in such a residential area.”
With the support of other councillors, Mark Way is looking for Council to strenuously oppose the tower by making submissions to Optus and Federal Member Anne Sudmalis MP opposing the tower’s location.
“Surely there must be another place to site it,” he says.