THE City of Rockingham held its first meeting of 2018 last Tuesday to a near-packed gallery of mainly angry Secret Harbour residents.
The group of residents were angry after the council reversed its decision to reject a 25m mobile phone tower from Telstra proposed to be built at the Secret Harbour Shopping Centre.
After Rockingham councillors rejected a committee report on Telstra’s development application for the tower, the corporation has since appealed Council’s decision by lodging a review application of the council’s decision with the State Administrative Tribunal.
The matter was considered by SAT at a directions hearing held on December 15, 2017 and ordered the council to reconsider the application.
A mediation meeting has been organised by SAT for both parties to attend on February 1.
With it up for reconsideration, Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin lodged an alternative motion that Council refuse the application for Telecommunications Infrastructure (Mobile Telephone) on Lot 7001 Secret Harbour Boulevard, Secret Harbour and cited her reasons.
“It will create a significant adverse impact on visual amenity and any benefit to the community from the tower does not outweigh that visual amenity,” Cr Hamblin said.
“I base my refusal on a legitimate planning consideration; I would love to talk about radiation and health concerns but I can’t use that legitimately.
“Businesses have also had concerns with safety and working heights and Woolworths have also put in concerns.
“I think we should have two councillors at this mediation who are supportive of the rejection.”
Cr Leigh Liley said Telstra’s request for a review was motivated by profit.
“We are talking about a multi-billion dollar industry – I don’t care what anyone says: it is about the mighty dollar,” she said.
“So in the absence of adverse scientific findings, I think we should err on the side of caution.”
Cr Joy Stewart said while it was accepted there was a need for the tower, no-one wanted them near shops, schools or hospitals.
Cr Lee Downham also said there were viable alternatives and it affected people’s lives.
The alternative motion was passed 6-3, with Council resolving to send Comet Bay councillor Mark Jones and Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin to the mediation meeting.