Barry Longland
Barry Longland

Site offer for tower welcome

PLANS for an unsightly 30-metre high mobile phone tower on a prominent hill at Uki may be looked at again after a local landowner offered an alternative hill site favoured by a number of residents.

Smith’s Creek Road farmer John Parson’s has offered a section of his 40-hectare property for the tower in a spot less obvious, which some residents say would still provide much needed improvements to mobile phone coverage.

“We need it bad out here,” said Mr Parsons yesterday as he pointed out mobile coverage in and around Uki was extremely poor.

“There are a few people here who have made an offer to use their property.

“We’ve got a hill, up on the southern end of the property where there’s quite a high ridge you can see the sea at Kingscliff.

“They would have to come out and test it of course but I think it would cover a fair area.”

The offer has been welcomed by Uki-based Tweed Shire councillor Barry Longland who last month was successful in delaying any approval of the controversial tower and insisting Optus first call a public meeting to discuss the plan.

Cr Longland said Optus has planned an information session for the public at the Uki Hotel from 6pm till 8pm tonight.

“My feeling is that the community here is not outright rejecting the benefits that better mobile/broadband coverage can provide, but rather the issue seems to be the proposed location of the tower,” he said.

Cr Longland said if another site was available, was suitable to Optus and Uki residents, it would be seen as an acceptable alternative.

“I guess that Monday’s meeting will establish the willingness of Optus to consider alternatives,” he added.

Optus had proposed its 30-metre high tower on a hill visible from most of the village off Meadow Place saying other sites it had looked at were not as suitable.

Local resident Deb Burke said everyone involved should “grab onto” Mr Parson’s offer “and stop arguing about the problem”.

“The tower that we Uki residents don’t need in Meadow Place is needed in the community,” Ms Burke said.

“Most of us don’t have network coverage. This is a totally workable solution. It ticks all the boxes. Uki and surrounding areas get the coverage a tower provides.

Ms Burke said a tower on the Parson’s farm meant “nobody’s health, safety, or aesthetic outlook is threatened”. As well environmental damage would be limited.

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