KALAMUNDA Shire councillors have recommended an Optus tower be built in the Ledger Road Reserve in Gooseberry Hill.
At a special council meeting on June 7, councillors voted to approve the phone tower, which will co-locate Optus and Vodafone in Ledger Road.
The council had wanted asbestos in the area to be cleaned up and an Optus spokesman said its development application had been submitted with caveats to address the asbestos waste in line with the Kalamunda Shire’s asbestos management plan.
The council also wants advice from the Department of Water about the Middle Helena catchment area and any potential hazards when construction starts.
Before the vote, Cr Tracy Destree said the area suffered from poor mobile coverage and hoped the councillors would consider the risks to the community if there was a fire.
“On balance I am comfortable with the issues raised and the council’s ability to address this,” she said.
Kalamunda volunteer fire service captain Tony Moiler said it was imperative to improve the communications in the Hills in fire and emergency service situations.
“From Lesmurdie to Gooseberry Hill we have poor coverage in fire and emergency situations and I would like this to be improved,” Mr Moiler said.
“We need a back up to the current system which is always dropping out when you are on the mobile and trying to get teams to fires. Our service is dependent on good communication.”
Cr Michael Fernie said while asbestos was a strong issue that needed to be addressed, it could be managed with an updated management plan in the Shire.
Cr Simon Di Rosso said he was unable to vote for something when the community was so clearly against it.
Cr Sue Bilich said there was not enough evidence to show phone towers did not have an effect on people’s health so she could not support the application until she was certain.
Cr Geoff Stallard said he was worried about clusters of leukaemia in other sites in the Shire near television towers and there was the possibility that the phone tower close to a school could add to these concerns.
No To Tower spokeswoman Emma Kallarn said she was disappointed the Shire has voted to approve the tower.
An Optus spokesperson said the company “was aware that some hazardous building materials are within proximity to the proposed site” and this was included in their application.
“If our application is approved, we will engage relevant experts to advise and assist with remediation of the affected area and access track to the site,” he said.
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