Tower proposal revisited

A proposal to construct a new Optus telecommunications tower at Castlemaine’s Wesley Hill is set to be revisited.
The revised proposal would see the tower moved about 100-200 metres inside the reserve and away from nearby homes.
Those impacted, however, say that the tower is now closer to residents in Railway Avenue who may be unaware of the proposal.
There was an outcry from local residents last October when the original plans for the 38-metre tower – to be installed alongside the Wesley Hill Recreation Reserve – were unveiled.
Residents argued that the tower would be a blight on the heritage landscape of the area and entrance to Castlemaine.
They were also concerned about visual amenity, the impact the tower could have on local real estate prices and potential health impacts, particularly if the tower was to be upgraded to 5G technology in the future.
About 50 objections were lodged against the proposal and a mediation session was held last October to enable the applicant to address some of the issues.
The telecommunications tower is also set to accommodate new lights for the Wesley Hill Reserve. Three light towers were installed at the reserve earlier this year and at the time residents noted one of these towers was placed on the original proposed site of the telecommunications tower, while a fourth inside the reserve near the cricket pavilion was not.
Despite the proposed relocation, residents are still unhappy and urge Optus and council to look for a more suitable site away from residential areas.
Local resident Sue Anderson said Optus representatives at the October mediation session offered to look at reducing the tower size to 30 metres. But residents are concerned that once approved the tower size could be increased or new technology added in the future.
“We feel that if this is approved it will open the door and they (Optus) will be free to make any changes they want. This is very concerning when it comes to the possibility of 5G and the health concerns about this technology being voiced right across the globe,” Ms Anderson said.
“Personally I have absolutely no issues with my mobile phone service so I really don’t see why the new tower is even necessary.”
Residents have until July 31 to lodge, revise or withdraw an objection to the application. Plans can be viewed on council’s website or at the Civic Centre.
It is understood there will be no further mediation sessions.

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