Craigieburn residents block Optus’s call

Victory: Ben Garvey and his daughters Zara and Maddison stand where the tower would have been built. Picture: Darren HoweCRAIGIEBURN residents have won a David and Goliath battle against Optus.
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At a Hume Council meeting last week, four residents spoke against the proposed construction of a telecommunications tower at a reserve on Mt Ridley Road, just metres from residential properties and near playgrounds and recreational paths.

The council received a petition with 29 signatures opposing the 26-metre-high tower, which was to upgrade Craigieburn Optus network coverage.

Residents had health concerns about the tower because of potential electro-magnetic radiation.

They also worried that it would be visually intrusive and could result in decreased property values.

Council officers had recommended that councillors grant permission for the tower, but Cr Drew Jessop moved a motion of refusal, which was unanimously supported.

Resident Ben Garvey, whose house faces the reserve where the tower was to be built, spoke against the development and said it was a great result for the community.

“I was hopeful that it wouldn’t go ahead, but from all the studies and research council had done I didn’t think we’d have much of a hope, to be honest,” he said.

“Our house, along with the others, fronts onto this reserve.

”That was our main reason for moving there. We have two young kids and we go to the reserve with them to play.”

Ivana Cookson, another resident who spoke against the development, said the tower would have ruined her view of the reserve.

“It would have been an eyesore from our veranda,” she said.

“There were also possible health issues and we were concerned about property values as well.”

Cr Jessop said the Craigieburn community should not have to put up with a tower development.

“What we have here is a public park with pathway and pedestrian and bicycle access. It will be wholly used by an increased residential population,” he said.

“Clearly anything associated with a pole will take up space and will be ugly as well.

“No matter of colour will hide the fact it’s a very big tower with antennas sitting on top of it.

“The possibility exists of a real visual-amenity issue.

“You would imagine and hope there would be a suitable alternative for this particular site in more appropriate locations.”