Banjup residents not happy with Vodafone proposal to build telecommunications tower

Banjup resident Jane Yovich says the proposed 37m telecommunications tower will be visible from her back porch.
Banjup resident Jane Yovich says the proposed 37m telecommunications tower will be visible from her back porch.

OUR thirst for mobile speed and coverage has never been higher but a proposal by Vodafone to build a telecommunications tower in Banjup is likely to face stiff opposition from nearby residents.

In an application out for community consultation until May 10, the company has proposed to install a 37m-high tower and equipment shelter at the back of a property on Harper Road.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the tower would be built to meet customer demand for improved mobile services in Banjup, Atwell and surrounding areas.

“The site would improve speed and accessibility in the area, giving residents and businesses access to more reliable voice services and high-speed 4G speeds,” she said.

“It will also reduce congestion on existing infrastructure in Cockburn Central, Success, Banjup, Forrestdale and Wandi.”

But there are residents, including Gutteridge Road local Jane Yovich, against it.

Mrs Yovich said the tower, to be built in the property adjacent to her family home, would be “a major blight on the landscape”.

“It’s just not an appropriate area for a telecommunications tower at all,” she said.

“We have beautiful paddocks and trees. It’s not in keeping with the landscape.

“For us personally, it’s going to be visible to us all the time from our house so it will be terrible.”Mrs Yovich argued suggestions her horse arena and established vegetation would shield the tower from view were incorrect.

Other locals questioned why the tower was needed at all and why it was not being built in a commercial space.

The Vodafone spokeswoman said the Harper Road site was considered most suitable because it would improve services across a number of suburbs.

“A number of alternative sites were considered, however all were found to be unsuitable for a number of reasons, including inability to provide adequate coverage or capacity,” she said.

Cockburn’s planning and services director Daniel Arndt said the subject site was zoned “resource” and therefore capable of housing the tower.

“It is not uncommon for telecommunications infrastructure to be located on privately owned property, and it is often attached to buildings,” he said.

“It is the City’s preference for telecommunications infrastructure to be located where it has the least visual impact in order to protect the amenity of the area.

“This of course must be balanced with the need for sufficient coverage.”

Banjup residents successfully argued against a similar proposal from Optus, with Cockburn councillors voting down an application in February.

Councillor Lee-Anne Smith said she was against the new application.

“Much like the Optus application, these corporates show a blatant disregard for the local residents their towers are affecting,” she said.

“If we can take on Optus and win, we will beat Vodafone.”

The matter will likely be considered by Cockburn councillors at an ordinary council meeting on June 8.

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