Review on phone tower

A phone tower was installed at 109 Winton Road in 2003.
A phone tower was installed at 109 Winton Road in 2003.

The site, at 109 Winton Road, already has a phone tower which was installed in 2003, but it has not been operational for more than a year.

It is proposed to remove the existing tower if the application is approved.

The application was rejected in August after concerns expressed by the community, Lake Joondalup Baptist College and Connolly Primary School about the potential health impacts of electromagnetic emissions (EME) from the proposed 20m tower.

The applicant, Telstra, then sought a review of the council’s decision by the State Administrative Tribunal.

Planning and community development director Dale Page said at last Tuesday’s council briefing the tribunal presiding member had voiced concerns at the directions hearing about council’s decision.

‘He advised that in order for the City to successfully defend its decision, the City would need to prove that there would be health impacts as a result of the tower,’ she said.

She said he reminded the City that previous cases had failed to find evidence of health impacts from mobile phone towers and these were not a valid planning reason to refuse the application.

She said he also ‘made the unusual decision’ that if the City was to pursue the matter to a tribunal hearing and lose the case, the City would have to pay all of Telstra’s costs. ‘The presiding member did indicate only six or seven cases he could recall where the (tribunal) has done that,’ she said.

Mayor Troy Pickard said: ‘I think the comment from the presiding member about awarding costs against the City is a clear expression from that individual of how bulletproof Telstra’s case is and the perception that we are just playing games by challenging it is my reading.’

Mediation between Telstra, Lake Joondalup Baptist College, Connolly Primary School and City of Joondalup representatives and councillors was held on October 25.

‘There was a general acknowledgement among the group that the additional information supplied by Telstra went some way to clear up uncertainty and debunk some of the myths about the workings of mobile phone towers and EMEs,’ Ms Page said.

‘In the case of this tower, the maximum predicted level of EME is 0.99 per cent, or 100 times under the public exposure limit. The EME levels at Lake Joondalup Baptist College and Connolly Primary School will be less still, at 0.18 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.’