Greenwood mother opposes mobile phone panel

Vedrana Martino (Greenwood) and her son Chace (3). Picture: Martin Kennealey.
Vedrana Martino (Greenwood) and her son Chace (3). Picture: Martin Kennealey.

OPTUS could be facing another fight in the northern suburbs with a Greenwood mother opposing a proposed mobile phone panel near her home.

Vedrana Martino said she received a letter from the telecommunications company on November 9, which advised they proposed to update an existing light pole to a mobile base station next to 61 Bouvardia Way, near Hepburn Avenue.

“This would be situated 30-40m across from my house and is in a highly populated residential area with a lot of young families,” she said.

“I have a young son and had a stroke few years ago so I have deep fear now for my health and for others around me.”

The proposal is for a ‘small cell’, which is a small panel antenna at the top of an existing pole and an equipment shelter.

This differs to the community-opposed Optus tower at Camberwarra Park in Craigie, which the Joondalup council refused last week.

The notice on the light pole. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

“A small cell is a low-power mobile cell site designed to enhance Optus’s 4G coverage in the immediate area, including along the road corridor,” an Optus spokesperson said.

“We are addressing the low 4G coverage in the area to enhance customer experience.

“Using small cells can achieve this objective without the need for a tower or larger installation.”

Ms Martino said only her and two of her neighbours had received the letter from Optus so the rest of the residents in Bouvardia Way were not aware of the proposal.

“There is a small sign that looks like a lost dog poster on the light pole about the proposed upgrade but I have surveyed a few of my neighbours and so far no one has read or noticed it,” she said.

She said she had emailed her concerns, as per the letter, and the response was “a sales pitch of how their phone tower is safe”.

“I have emailed them again stating that 0 per cent of their radiation levels is acceptable to my family and my neighbours and I am still waiting for a response,” she said.

“I have a deep concern over the lack of letters being sent.

“It feels to me so morally wrong – if it’s so safe why isn’t everyone being made aware of this?

“I am deeply disturbed at how this proposal can even be a possibility without any council approval or any consideration from the local residents.”

City of Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt said small cells were considered low impact technology and under the Telecommunications Act, were exempt from planning approval.

“Whilst the City has no jurisdiction over the location or installation of low-impact telecommunications facilities, it is usually notified of such proposals and provides comments to proponents on such matters as location, colours, removal of obsolete facilities and compliance with required legislation,” he said.

“Proponents may also undertake additional consultation with the community, which the City encourages.”

An Optus spokesperson added that all mobile phone networks “must comply with science-based regulations mandated by the Federal Government in relation to exposure to EME (electromagnetic energy) from mobile phone base stations”.