A picture in the planning permit showing the appearance of the 4G tower.

4G tower approved despite locals’ concerns

October 2, 2019 BY

THE Surf Coast Shire has approved a telecommunications tower at Quay Reserve despite numerous objections from locals.

The planning permit received 97 objections, and a handful of community members who opposed the tower’s construction in Torquay North attended the September 24 council meeting at which the plan was approved.

Their main fears revolve around the perceived health risks of 5G.

The 4G tower, which will be built in place of one of the existing light poles, could potentially accommodate 5G in the future.

Cr Brian McKiterick was the only councillor to oppose the bill. He said the tower’s position was no better than that of the proposal the council rejected in February.

“I have grave concerns about this tower. Moving it 70 metres so that it’s on the corner of the Quay Boulevard and Horseshoe Bend Road where there’s still homes, there’s still the visual issue, it’s a public place where people play football.

“I’ve gone to other towers and you can hear it humming. I’m sure that humming will be heard by residents in The Quay. What’s happened between February and now, I don’t think anything’s changed in reality.”

As shire officers pointed out to objectors, rejecting the planning permit on the grounds of health risks is outside the council’s jurisdiction. Such matters are instead dealt with by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Cr Martin Duke said this had been emphasised with other councils.

“They have gone to VCAT before and all been knocked back.”

Earlier this year the Town of Victoria Park Council in Western Australia rejected a similar tower, largely because of concerns about its impact on people’s health.

Town of Victoria Park mayor Trevor Vaughan, who supported the planning application, noted the applicant could simply appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal to overrule the decision.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) says there are no legitimate studies that show 5G to be harmful.

“Contrary to some claims, there are no established health effects from the radio waves that the 5G network uses.

“ARPANSA and the World Health Organisation are not aware of any well-conducted scientific investigations where health symptoms were confirmed as a result of radio wave exposure in the everyday environment.”