BY NEELIMA CHOAHAN
09 Mar, 2012 09:28 PM
BALLARAT City Council is in consultation with NBN Co to seek an alternative site for a controversial telecommunications tower in Buninyong.
The move follows a recommendation by council’s planning department to reject a proposal to develop land at 102-106 Davies Street for a telecommunications facility.
The council will consider the Crown Castle application at its public meeting on Wednesday night.
The application for a 40-metre-high monopole including equipment shelter and a secure fenced compound, as well as the removal of native vegetation, has attracted opposition from the Buninyong community, with the council receiving 59 objections.
Buninyong resident Sue Cartledge, whose house is just 400 metres from the proposed site, welcomed the proposed move.
However, Ms Cartledge said she was disappointed at the lack of community consultation from both NBN Co and the council.
Yesterday, a council spokesperson said they would consider the department’s report, taking into account planning laws, as well as the views of the applicant and objectors.
“Following discussions with NBN Co, we believe that there are better alternatives for a site to supply fixed wireless broadband for Buninyong,” she said.
“We anticipate a new proposal from NBN Co in due course.”
In the past, the national broadband carrier has distanced itself from the application. An NBN Co spokeswoman said the company did not have a development application for a tower at Buninyong.
In his yet-to-be-tabled submission to the council, the report’s author Eric Braslis said Crown Castle had not clarified which service providers, if any, intended to use this tower.
Therefore, an assessment of whether a community need was being met could not be sustained.
In his recommendation to refuse a planning permit for the tower, Mr Braslis cited several reasons, including an affect on the amenity of the area and native vegetation.
“A proposed development would, by virtue of its height, location, design and appearance, adversely affect the amenity of the area through unacceptable visual impact,” Mr Braslis said.
“The proposed native vegetation removal would adversely affect the biodiversity of the area …(and) would fail to adequately maintain and enhance koala habitat.”