Council approves Optus tower at Arena Joondalup despite school objections

The proposed telecommunication tower site at HBF Arena. Photo: Martin Kennealey
The proposed telecommunication tower site at HBF Arena. Photo: Martin Kennealey

A TELECOMMUNICATIONS tower has been approved at Arena Joondalup.

At last month’s meeting Joondalup councillors approved the Optus tower proposed for the western-most playing field next to Waabiyn Way.

The tower would have a maximum height of 41.25m and would be located 210m from the Arena building, 350m from Lake Joondalup Baptist College and 200m from the closest residential property.

The proposal, which replaces an existing 20m high floodlighting pole, was advertised, with the City receiving 12 submissions of which 10 were objections.

Issues raised included health concerns associated with electromagnetic emissions, the visual impact of the tower and its affect on property values and its proximity to Lake Joondalup Baptist College.

A council document said the proposal met the City’s policy requirements and there would be “minimal visual impact on residential areas” with the site sitting “significantly lower than the natural ground level of the surrounding area”.

“The site has been selected to minimise its impact upon the locality while improving service delivery,” it said.

“It has been demonstrated through the provision of an environmental report that community exposure to electromagnetic energy will comply with the relevant legislation.”

At the council briefing, Lake Joondalup Baptist College Parents and Friends chairwoman Justine O’Malley said the school had concerns regarding the “scale and positioning” of the tower, which would be “visually unappealing at a major entrance” and was an “enormous community concern”.

She said it was “too close to the school” and requested it be moved to an “alternate site away from the college that is not so close to a large population of children”.

Planning and community development director Dale Page said 350m was a “sizeable distance” from the school.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to find sites due to development and existing towers,” she said.

“We are currently dealing with another five to six requests.

“(Applicants) really do investigate all options to tick all the boxes.”

She added that the council was unable to refuse the application based on health concerns.

An Optus spokesman said the tower was “critical to address the data coverage capacity in the Joondalup west area”.

“The area has been selected in conjunction with VenuesWest (operator of Arena Joondalup) and is a blackspot at the facility,” he said.

“It has been located as far from the college as possible and away from residential properties.

“There will be no impact on the character of the area and the community will benefit greatly from improved communication.”

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