Uki divided over tower

TELECOMMUNICATIONS company Optus put a strong case to the public in favour of a controversial mobile phone tower during a meet-the-public session at Uki on Monday night, according to village resident and Tweed Shire councillor Barry Longland.

Despite this, Cr Longland, who convinced other councillors last month to defer any decision on a development application for the 30 metre-high tower on a prominent hillside near the village till a public meeting was held, said a number of locals were still not happy.

While Optus representatives met the public, mostly one-on-one, and answered questions, Cr Longland said some had expected a more traditional town meeting.

“Some of the people were disappointed – they were counting this information session as a public meeting,” he said.

“Optus set it up pretty much as an information session. They had material posted on the walls and people to answer questions.

“A number of people seemed to drift through.

“It was a bit unfortunate it had to be at the hotel – that probably excluded some people.”

Cr Longland said the community seemed to be divided with “quite a deal of support for extending mobile coverage” and Optus put up good arguments for why it favoured the chosen hillside.

He said company representatives explained that an alternative hilltop, offered by Smiths Creek farmer John Parsons last week, would not be suitable.

“There’s a ridge that creates a line-of-sight barrier so most of the village of Uki would be excluded,” he said.

Cr Longland said locals had been conducting a community survey on the tower plans which he expected would be provided to the council.

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