MORLEY residents have clashed over a proposed Vodafone mobile phone base station at Crimea Reserve, with some saying it will lift the suburb out of its “dark ages” state of telecommunication.
City of Bayswater officers have recommended Council refuse a proposal that includes installing a 20m monopole with six panel antennas attached and equipment shelter at ground level.
At a City of Bayswater briefing session this week, resident Joy Nichols said she represented many Morley residents – including 200 petition-signers – who “strongly objected” to the tower.
She said the Morley Eagles Baseball Club, skaters, walkers, basketball players and families enjoyed the green space.
Ms Nichols said they were concerned about the impact of the phone tower on residential property values, visual amenity and the potential and unknown health effects from radiofrequency and electromagnetic energy.
She said feedback she received was phone reception was not an issue.
“We say to telecommunication companies: ‘hands off our reserve’,” she said.
However, resident Ray Palmer said he had lived in Morley for 15 years and never had a good phone signal.
“Our place has one bar… I run a business and I have to go into the driveway to make calls,” he said.
“Morley is still in the dark ages.”
Mr Palmer said he designed medical equipment and there was a lot of false information about radio waves and health concerns.
Harvey Tonkin, who lives 1km from Crimea Reserve, said there were already two towers on the oval and three large trees taller than the height of the proposed tower.
“I am a Vodafone customer and I have to stand out the front of my house to send messages or receive calls,” he said.
Planning Solutions representative Ben Doyle said Vodafone had looked at alternative sites but they had less screening.
He said Crimea Reserve was optimum to fix the “black spot” in the area.
“Mapping from Vodafone shows large gaps in the area… (Vodafone has been) looking for more than six years for the site, this is it,” he said.
“Telecommunications need to be where the people are.”
Mr Doyle said he was disappointed with officer’s recommendation of refusal and said it was not possible to put in telecommunications infrastructure and comply with the City’s required 250m buffer zone.
He said there were only two sites in the city where this would be possible – one site near the Swan River and the other at Lightning Park bushland.
The item is set to go before Council on October 4.