Healing resident fears on phone tower health risks

TELSTRA'S national electro magnetic energy manager Mike Wood is adamant there is no health risk from mobile phone towers.

Mr Wood was due to attend a public meeting last night to meet Banora Point residents worried about EME radiation health risks from a planned mobile phone tower on a hill above Pioneer Park, Fraser Drive.

Tweed Shire Council requires Telstra to demonstrate community consultation has occurred as part of its approvals process for the tower application.

Telstra argues the new tower will improve mobile phone and internet coverage in Banora Point.

Banora Point residents led by Kevin Moloney have provided more than 150 letters of objection against the tower and held anti-tower rallies.

Mr Moloney has argued other countries have tightened up restrictions on phone towers due to concern about cancer risks.

He has pointed out that the NSW government aims to restrict the towers near schools.

Mr Wood provided to the Tweed Daily News data showing existing EME levels at four mobile phone towers in the Tweed are less than one per cent of the statutory limit.

According to a Telstra information pack from Mr Wood, the four towers are at Peel Circuit, Tweed Heads South; the Rod Wilkinson Reserve car park; Rayles Lane, Terranora; and the Kingscliff%reservoir.

The four towers have EME emissions between 0.03 per cent and 0.001 per cent of allowable limits, Telstra says.

Mr Wood, based at Telstra's Melbourne head office, said population growth and growth in the number of mobile phones meant the new tower above Pioneer Park was needed to maintain mobile phone coverage and provide internet speed for Telstra's Next G broadband network.

"Other towers in the Tweed area are simply too far away to get fast (internet) speeds and continuing phone connection," Mr Wood said.

He said two alternative sites had been considered, but the South Tweed junior rugby league complex was not high enough and another site behind the hill above Pioneer Park would require more than one pole.

"People of course have every right to know what's being deployed in their local area, and what we are trying to do is take the fear out of the debate," Mr Wood said.

He said EME radiation is safely emitted from baby-cot monitors, TVs and radios. It is also emitted by two-way radios widely used by emergency services, hospitals, energy utilities, local councils and surf lifesaving clubs.

Tweed Shire Council postponed a decision on the Banora Point mobile phone tower application to%allow the public meeting to go ahead.

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