Robyn Stephenson, John Atkinson and fellow Samford locals are rallying against a proposed telecommunications tower at Highvale.
Telstra and community representatives will discuss alternative sites for a proposed 30-metre high telecommunications monopole in Highvale, after a majority of residents opposed the plan.
Telstra is proposing to build the tower on property along Mt Glorious Road, opposite the new Samford Skies housing estate – and less than 50m from some homes.
Robyn Stephenson, a member of a Samford Progress Association (SPA) sub-committee that objects to the proposed location, says there is no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic radiation emitted by the tower would be safe.
Concerned residents also believe a tower would detract from the scenic landscape character of the area, and negatively impact a protected flying fox colony.
Mrs Stephenson, who lives in the Samford Skies estate, said she is pleased Telstra is listening to residents.
“Telstra wants to meet with the sub-committee to discuss an alternative site for the proposed tower,” she said.
The SPA sub-committee advocates an early rollout of the National Broadband Network in Samford Valley, adding the proposed “flawed and inappropriate” technology facility would not provide effective services.
“We’re really supportive of the service improving but not putting a bandaid on the problem,” Mrs Stephenson said.
“We’re wanting to improve the service but we don’t believe this tower is the way to do it.”
Telstra is using a company called Aurecon to handle planning, design and property acquisition for the proposed facility.
Around 80 residents attended an information session at the Samford Showgrounds on 24 April, where representatives of Telstra answered community concerns.
A survey was available for residents at the event, which Aurecon planner Haley Eske said contained expressions of both support and opposition.
“Notwithstanding the opposing comments, one theme was evident throughout the consultation process and that was the need for improved mobile phone and broadband coverage and capacity,” Ms Eske said.
Moreton Bay Region Councillor Bob Millar (Division 11) said he suggested to Aurecon to find a location for the tower that would be more accepted by residents.
“While there were not many people in attendance (at the meeting) in support of the tower, I have received a number of enquiries over recent years regarding complaints of poor mobile and broadband service,” he said.
David Wayne and Heather Adams, both Highvale residents for over 10 years, welcomed the tower proposal.
“I’ve spoke to a lot of people out here, there’s a lot of people that do want it,” said Mr Wayne, who uses dial-up internet.
Ms Adams said: “The fact of the situation is that there is inequity of access to mobile
phone and broadband services in Samford and Telstra has not addressed
these issues for over a decade.”
She also said she was not concerned about possible health implications of radiation from the tower.
“It depends whether you’re dealing with fact or concern. Concern can cause you to be over-cautious,” she said.
“But then I am not living in close proximity to the proposed site of the
tower like the people in Samford Skies.
“It is quite understandable why
they would be concerned.”
Ms Eske said the maximum estimated signal strength would be 900 times below the level Telstra is permitted to transmit 24 hours a day.