A ROLLOUT of NBN towers across the region has residents calling for more time to investigate health risks associated with electromagnetic radiation before wireless poles go up near their homes.
The Shire of Mundaring has received plans for towers in Darlington at 11 Maslin Crescent, in Stoneville at 1240 Osborne Street, in Chidlow at 2000 Sertorio Road, in Parkerville at 4105 Roland Road and two in Wooroloo, at 7681 Harper Road and 5148 Mayo Road.
Osborne Street resident Rosie Zilioli contacted the Gazette after hearing about a 40-metre monopole planned for Stoneville.
She said the application made no mention of health risks associated with ‘non-heating radiation’, such as headaches, muscle fatigue, dizziness, sleeping disorders and cancers.
“Only the neighbouring properties received a letter about the application and this tower would affect everyone in the area,” she said.
“It will be such an eyesore and I don’t believe the internet will be any faster.
“Mixed technology towers are more costly and very slow when compared to the safer, faster fibre optic technology already present in this area.”
However, NBN WA corporate affairs manager Ebony Aitken said the areas were currently serviced by existing ADSL technology.
The towers will use radio signals delivered from NBN ground stations to transmit data inside and outside nearby homes.
“It is designed to provide access to wholesale speeds of up to 50mbps download and 20mbps upload – much faster than the existing ADSL technology which on average delivers speeds of around 13mbps download and 533kbps upload,” she said.
“Fixed wireless facilities are designed to transmit a radio signal – the same kind of signal as AM/FM radio and television broadcasts that Australians have been living with for decades.”
Ms Aitken said the NBN complied with strict safety standards set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), which regulates levels of electro-magnetic energy (EME) in Australia in order to protect all people in all environments, 24 hours a day.
But Ms Zilioli said a small public notice on the site was insufficient notification to create wider community awareness of the proposal.
“As the visual impact would be seen for miles around, the developer should be directed to install a temporary 40 metre crane on the site for two weeks, so residents and the public can physically view the actual height of the structure against our panorama that we currently enjoy.”
The 21-day public submission period for Osborne Street closed on Monday, but Ms Zilioli said the Shire extended the deadline to February 14 after she contacted the planning department.
The Osborne Street proposal includes plans for Optus to co-locate a new mobile phone base station to the site.
The application states: “The proposed facility is necessary to provide NBN fixed wireless coverage to parts of Stoneville and establish links between NBN facilities in Sawyers Valley and Parkerville North”.
The tower would be built in a residential zone, set back about 355 metres from Osborne Street, with “no community sensitive sites identified within a 500 metre radius of the proposed development location on the subject property”.
Darlington residents Neil and Janie Matthews received a Shire of Mundaring notification of an application by the owners of 11 Maslin Crescent to lease a portion of their land to Optus to erect a 35m tall mobile phone tower.
“Understandably, I think, we are appalled at the idea of having a huge tower so close to us and the Shire has only given until 4pm, February 16 to submit a comment on this application,” Mr Mat-thews said.
“Our property is one of several uphill which would effectively be at eye level with the transmitter centre of the tower.”
He urged the council to err on the side of caution.
“The Shire (in the notification) included a fact sheet stating there are no health risks posed by cell towers,” he said.
“Given this fact sheet is from MCF, Mobiles Carriers Forum, an industry group which represents the three mobile phone carriers in Australia, I have my concerns about the bias of this document.”
Ms Aitken said the towers would service around 1500 premises in the area.