Residents renew fight against mobile towers

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Residents renew fight against mobile towers
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Residents fighting a proposed Telstra tower in Quakers Hill also have local political support on their side.

Telstra plans to build a 28.5 metre tower in the carpark of the Aldi supermarket at Quakers Hill.

Initially given "only 10 days' notice" to file objections to the tower proposal to council, residents received an extra fortnight to submit written objections after the intervention of local councillor Allan Green.

"Without him, [the number of objections] wouldn't have happened," Janssens told iTnews. "We had to act very fast."

The campaign has also received support from the area's Federal Labor MP Michelle Rowland.

It may be a different carrier and the fight is still young but residents have reported an almost identical set of problems to those in Ballina.

Janssens said that many residents had received a response letter from Telstra to their objections that was "almost" condescending.

"We've made an educated objection but the response was almost child-like, like they were talking to people who don't know [anything]," Janssens said.

"They just keep repeating the same thing. At this stage it feels like they didn't hear anything we had to say.

"We have [almost] 1,200 signatures and letters and they [Telstra] still insist [on going ahead]. I don't understand that kind of arrogant mentality."

Janssens said it was "irrelevant" whether residents were "right or wrong" in their concerns about the tower.

"We don't want it," she said. "We are very determined to stop this project going ahead and will do whatever it takes. People are very proactive in this area."

As in Ballina, Janssens raised concerns that if the tower – called a monopole in industry parlance – was built, it would soon grow to carry other telco's antennas.

And she was similarly unswayed by commercial arguments made by Telstra.

"It doesn't matter that they [Telstra] need to expand [their network]," Janssens said.

"It's very frustrating when you get replies that they need to expand [because] it's not in line with our concerns."

Similarly, she noted apparent assertions from Telstra that the Aldi carpark was the pick of five sites it had scoped.

"They say they have considered another four sites but this is the best one for them. But just because the other four aren't right, this [site] is," Janssens said.

"If they've considered five sites and none of them are right then they have to move on."

Janssens, however, does not discount the possibility that it's residents that might have to think about moving if they don't want to bring up their children in the tower's immediate vicinity.

"It's very scary," she said. "I don't want to move – we bought a house. We can't afford to.

"But what choice do you have when you know what you know?"

Do you have any issue living in the vicinity of a mobile telecommunications structure? Have your say below.

This is the first in a multi-part iTnews' investigation of a resurgence in mobile phone antenna disputes. Stay tuned for more.

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