NBN tower knocked back in Bindoon

Friends of Bell Hill Reserve committee member Rhonda Walsh with fellow local residents.
Friends of Bell Hill Reserve committee member Rhonda Walsh with fellow local residents.

NBN Co will need to reconsider its next move after Shire of Chittering rejected its application to put a 40m communications tower in a nature reserve in Bindoon.

The tower received strong opposition from residents surrounding Bell Hill Reserve in the Bindoon Country Club Estate, who argued the tower would affect visual amenity and lower house prices.

NBN Co claimed it had investigated a number of alternative sites in the area, but for various reasons like coverage and land tenure issues, these locations were unviable.

Bell Hill Reserve was favoured due to its potential to reach most residents.

The 364 homes and businesses in the proposed tower’s coverage area cannot receive the NBN via a different technology, meaning a tower, somewhere, will need to be built if residents want the high-speed service.

Nearby resident Julie Duzevich said the tower would impact too many residents and dominate a small nature reserve that was set aside for residents many years ago.

“We totally support the concept of NBN but we do not support the ethos of its implementation and their diligent endeavours to possibly circumvent the intent of the legislation involved,” she said.

Ms Duzevich said the tower was only 53m away from the closest home and the rural amenity would be ruined for many homes around the tower.

Council made the unusual move of splitting the motion into two separate decisions, one to excise a portion of Bell Hill Reserve and allow telecommunications and another to grant planning approval for the tower to be built.

Both motions lost and it is unclear whether the planning approval decision can be appealed at the State Administrative Tribunal because the planning approval requires the excision of the reserve land.

A spokesman for NBN Co said the company was now reviewing its options on the best way to service the community in Bindoon.

“We remain committed to delivering fast broadband to every home and business in the region and we look forward to continuing our constructive relationship with council and local residents,” the spokesman said.

Shire of Chittering President Rob Hawes said the proposal for the tower at Bell Hill Reserve was now dead in the water.

“It’s my belief and I voted accordingly that long term, it would have been of benefit to the community,” he said

“There was a well-researched and splendidly-put load of opposition to it, which at the end of the day caused the majority of councillors to vote against it.”