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NBN tower fight looms

Clothiers creek residents say the NBN Co tower is "not going in"
Clothiers creek residents say the NBN Co tower is "not going in" Nolan Verheij-full

A GROUP determined to stop an NBN Co internet tower from going ahead has started taking "pre-tower" blood tests to gear up for a legal fight.

Clothiers Creek NBN Tower Action Group has surveyed lot owners within an 800-metre radius of the proposed 36-metre Ericsson tower, and said 13 out of 15 object to its construction.

They're concerned about the tower's proximity to a school boundary, reportedly less than 500 metres; its "potential adverse health impacts" to both wildlife and people; its visual impact and expected loss to property value.

They also said community consultation was inadequate.

Partnering with the Nimbin action group, the residents have begun undertaking "pre-tower" blood tests.

"The towers emit a frequency which disturbs the body's natural production of melatonin, which is a natural defence to cancer.

"Our solicitor will gather the results and write to NBN Co, advising them if a trend change occurs, they are liable," said Josh Broome.

Residents observed that the Tweed Shire Council had refused an application for a similar Telstra internet tower in King's Forrest, when the NSW Department of Education cited concerns about its proximity to a future school.

The council's director of planning, Vince Connell, explained that the application, on council's Depot Rd site and part of a planned estate, were subject to different State planning laws.

Residents have appealed to Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot to make representations to the Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull.

"A number of residents have contacted me regarding the tower. The views expressed range from very positive regarding the roll- out of NBN in Clothiers Creek through to those concerned about the location of the tower.

"I will continue to make representations on their behalf directly to NBN Co, and if required, to the Minister," Mrs Elliot said.

Dissatisfaction with NBN Co has been widespread, with rural communities in Victoria, the Clarence Valley, Nimbin and Burringbar protesting the towers, which can be installed without council consent.

FREQUENCY 'JUST LIKE RADIO, TV'

AN NBN Co spokesperson said the towers emitted frequencies that were safe.

"The same kind of radio frequency signals as AM/FM radio, television and police car radio radios," the spokesperson said.

"They emit very little radio frequency energy to the environment because the antennas are extremely low powered and fall well within Australian and global guidelines."

The spokesperson said the consultation process undertaken by NBN Co had been "over and above the statutory requirements".

A public notice and NBN Co advertisement were published in the Tweed Daily News on August 2 this year. A notification letter was delivered to 337 properties within 2km of the proposed facility on August 4.

A community information session was held on August 14, attended by about 40 people.

"At this meeting we received 12 feedback forms, 10 in favour and two undecided," the spokesperson said.

If people are still concerned, they can phone ARPANSA on 1800 022 333.

Topics:  nbn, nbnco, nbn co, nbn tower, nbn towers



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