HIGH speed broadband is all very well, say Fish Creek father and son Peter and Michael Thomson, but they can’t help wondering why they have not been consulted about NBN Co’s proposal to construct a 45-metre lattice tower to bring fixed wireless high-speed broadband to the Fish Creek area. The site proposed is just 65 metres from Michael’s house. No other dwelling is anywhere near as close to the site.
“It is misleading to say – as the planning permit application maintains – that the proposed location is 96 Old Waratah Road. The site is actually in Stewarts Road,” said Peter Thomson.
Pointing out to ‘The Mirror’ the pegged-out site, he said it was indeed on land owned by Norma Symmons, who lives in Old Waratah Road, but the location is the furthest point from her house. The site, however, is only just across Stewarts Road from Michael’s house.
The Thomsons do not wish to upset their good relationship with their neighbour. They said that they are not opposed to towers per se, but they are disappointed that they were not consulted when NBN was sourcing a location for its Fish Creek tower.
“This is such a rural area. There are no other houses around. Why did they have to place it so close to my house?” said Michael Thomson.
“It seems a very poor decision to me,” said Peter Thomson.
As well as harbouring concerns about the unsightliness of the tower, they are concerned about the health impact on anyone living close to an NBN tower.
They showed ‘The Mirror’ an article which appeared in Ballarat’s ‘Courier’ newspaper headed ‘Wilkie supports NBN but would not live near tower’ and said they concurred with independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who told a reporter that he had two young children and “while I’m unsure what the health impact would be I would default to a precautionary principle” and not live next to a communications tower.
The Thomsons would like the tower located as far away as possible from any dwellings.
“I understand that the tower needs to be close to power, but surely there are alternative sites much further from any houses,” said Peter Thomson.
Last Thursday the Thomsons invited South Gippsland Shire councillor Lorraine Brunt to Fish Creek and explained to her on the spot their concerns about the NBN proposal. She said the permit application is likely to be advertised in a week or two and anyone living within a 500 metre radius of the tower will be notified and invited to respond. The Thomsons plan to put in a submission. Cr Brunt also suggested that the Thomsons set their concerns before Council in a public presentation.