Tweed Shire councillor Dot Holdom (left) talks with Koala Beach residents' spokesman Alan Johnston (centre) and Cr Barry Longland about plans for a mobile phone tower in their neighbourhood.
Tweed Shire councillor Dot Holdom (left) talks with Koala Beach residents' spokesman Alan Johnston (centre) and Cr Barry Longland about plans for a mobile phone tower in their neighbourhood. Crystal Spencer

Koala Beach phone tower protest

RESIDENTS of the Koala Beach estate at Pottsville yesterday met with two Tweed Shire Councillors to voice their horror at plans for a mobile phone tower in the midst of the environmentally-friendly neighbourhood.

The residents, who fear the 30-metre-high tower will affect koalas, bats and birds near their homes in Bottlebrush Drive, met with councillors Barry Longland and Dot Holdom, concerned that the proposal will come back to a council meeting next week.

The plans had been on hold for 14 months since the council asked Optus to commission an environmental impact study.

Whereas some phone towers can be approved by the Australian Communication and Media Authority even if a local council opposes the project, the Koala Beach decision will be solely up to Tweed Shire Council because it owns the site of the proposed tower.

“It will be a decision for the council,” said Cr Longland after the meeting with residents.

He said although the surrounding area was zoned for environmental protection, the small piece of land which also is the site of a water reservoir was zoned “special purpose” allowing uses such as a phone tower.

Mr Longland said residents opposed to the tower came out in force.

“There was a good turnout of residents there. They wanted to bring their concerns to the councillors.

“People there are claiming they bought into Koala Beach because of environment protection issues.

“My point to the people that were there is we would be expecting a comprehensive report from council. I will take account of what the council officers have to say.”

One resident opposed to the tower at the end of her street, Laurel Fisher said she and her neighbours were concerned for the wellbeing of “many species of birds, bats, koala’s and rare and endangered species found in our estate and the effects a tower would have on their habitat, food supply and overall wellbeing”.

They believe the matter is likely to be listed on the agenda for next week’s council meeting.



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