Raising awareness & lobbying for safer wireless technology

Community outrage is rife over plans for a mobile phone tower near a busy Greenlane intersection.

The tower or “mobile site” is explained in a letter to residents living within a 50-metre radius.

The proposed location is near to 174 Campbell Rd, at the corner of Wheturangi Rd, and the “site” would be a 3.5 metre extension that sits on top of a street light.

“We carefully consider several factors when choosing a site for Telecom’s mobile phone infrastructure,” the letter from Chorus’ acquisition project manager reads.

“We look at customer demand, the local geography and environment, location in relation to community facilities and the way the network itself is configured. We also take on board advice from the local council planners.”

Residents are now banding together to fight the installation.

“Everyone we’ve talked to is totally against it,” resident Allan Towers says. “We don’t need it here. It’s not acceptable at all.”

He says the road is a busy walking route for school kids.

“The telcos say that because it emits a small amount of electromagnetic radiation that it’s fine. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of electromagnetism. We’re not prepared to take a risk with our health.”

Neighbour Nick Crighton will be one of those living closest to the mobile site if it goes ahead. He says his young daughter has been in hospital four times in recent weeks because she’s intolerant to dairy products and the family is still getting to grips with her allergies.

“She’s got a weakened immune system.”

Mr Crighton has concerns that the mobile site will not do his daughter’s health any favours.

Green Party member Tom Land has been in touch with the group and forwarded them extensive information on the effects of wireless technologies.

The group is circulating a petition and aiming for at least 500 signatures.

A public meeting may be held too.

Telecom community relations manager Emma Blackmore says the mobile site is going in because another one 173 metres away is being relocated.

She says the original site is within the grounds of an old hotel on the street.

“The antenna will ensure Telecom continues to meet increasing residential and business demand for mobile technology in the wider area. When we choose new sites we weigh up a host of factors such as coverage requirements, site availability, technical requirements and zoning.

“We endeavour to balance these needs and choose the best site.

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“We chose this site because it was best suited to the coverage needs of the area, easy access to power and other facilities.”

Ms Blackmore says there are no coverage gaps in the area, it’s simply a relocation.

The tower could be installed within two to three months if Telecom is granted resource consent.

Telecom is not aware of any strong opposition to the proposal.

“We have only had one call about relocating this antenna site. Telecom appreciates that some people may be concerned about the relocation of this antenna site. The reality is that without these, and other types of mobile sites, we could not operate our mobile phones.”

Ms Blackmore says: “Scientists have been studying the effects of radio waves on people for over 50 years. Over 1400 studies into the effect of radio waves from mobile phones and mobile phone sites have been conducted.

“The consensus of international scientific opinion is that mobile phone sites are safe if operated within approved safety standards.

“Telecom mobile sites operate well within the standard which was developed by an independent panel, including scientists, health professionals, community representatives and unions.”