Proposed Mobile phone Base Station
9 Church St, Nelson Bay – submissions due by 18 November to:
This image provided by Optus shows the proposed ‘shroud’ or box enclosing the mobile phone equipment to be built on top of the lift shaft of the existing apartment building at 9 Church St.
Mobile phone infrastructure is governed by federal Telecommunications laws and is effectively exempt from State Planning law. Optus (who will be sharing this facility with Vodafone) do not need approval – they only have to advertise the proposal (Examiner 31 October p39), publish information including a consultation plan (www.rfnsa.com.au/2315007) and accept comments (by 18 November[i] to firstname.lastname@example.org) and publish a report on submissions. They don’t have to take any notice of objections but say they are willing to consider suggestions.
TRRA only found out about the proposal from the Examiner notice, and attended the information session on 4 November. There are three issues:
- the need for a new base station
- the location
- the design
Need: We have no basis to challenge their assertion that a new facility is required to fill significant gaps in coverage in the town centre.
Location: The consultation plan details the other locations they considered – inc. 2 sites at Golf Club and 1 at Landmark – all rejected for combination of less ideal technically and/or couldn’t reach terms with owners. We will be suggesting they investigate other alternatives including the Council reserve at the corner of Church and Stockton Sts.
Design: The visual intrusion of a 5 metre ‘box’ on top of the apartment building at 9 Church St (see image above) is a major issue. The image demonstrates intrusion on the wooded backdrop to the Nelson Bay CBD, as seen from the Church St/Government Rd junction. Views may differ on whether boxing it in looks worse than ‘naked’ masts and cells.
The proposed structure would reach 23.6 metres above ground level – 5m above the top of the lift shaft, which at 18.6m already exceeds the current height limit for the site of 15m by 24%. Council’s proposed new height limit is 28m, and it has already approved a 32m 8 storey apartment building at 11-13 Church St (the site of the crane in the image).
Have your say – to email@example.com by 18 November.
The website and letter say 11 November but Optus have confirmed the Examiner notice deadline of 18 November for comments.