Russell Ernst says a proposed phone tower at Jones Hill will be too close to a water reservoir.
Russell Ernst says a proposed phone tower at Jones Hill will be too close to a water reservoir. Renee Pilcher

Phone tower radiation fear

JONES Hill residents may get better phone reception if a proposal by Telstra to erect a 30m monopole goes ahead, but at what cost?

Corbet Road residents are opposed to the idea to place a tower at the end of their rural residential street adjacent to a water reservoir. Speaking for them yesterday, Russell Ernst said he was very concerned about radiation.

In fact, residents feel so strongly they have started a petition which has been doing the rounds at Jones Hill State School, Fabulous Fakes in Centro and at a local corner store.

So far the petition, which outlined grounds for objection to the tower, like health risks from exposure to radiation, had been gaining support, Mr Ernst said.

Other reasons locals like Gloria Venning, who lives about 150m from where the tower would be erected, are opposed its proximity include the possible effects on Gympie’s water supply and the devaluation of properties.

The site ear marked for the tower is only about 10m from the Jones Hill reservoir.

Mr Ernst, who has lived in Corbet Road for about 13 years, said the tower’s proposed location was too close to Jones Hill State School and could have a negative effect on the health of its students.

“It will devalue properties; who’s going to want to buy next to one of those towers?” Mr Ernst asked.

Mrs Venning’s home would be the closest residence to the proposed tower and she is concerned for not only herself, but future generations.

She said her niece lived next door with her three children.

“(My niece) wants to build off Waldock Road...right in the firing line,” Mrs Venning said.

“What’s it going to do to the water?...That concerns me.

“I want (council) to say no. Jones Hill School is right there, in the direct (path).”

Gympie Regional Council is yet to receive a development application for the tower, however, council resolved to permit Telstra to apply to erect the tower subject to planning and development approval and considerations by the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

Mayor Ron Dyne said community consultation would take place once, or if, the application was received .

When The Gympie Times asked Cr Dyne if he was concerned about the proposed towers proximity to town water supplies he said his understanding was the tower wouldn’t affect water, but he also said the question would be looked at when council considered the development application.

The State Government owns the land on which Telstra proposes to place the tower and Colin McPaul leases the site for grazing purposes.

Mr McPaul said he received a letter of intent saying council wished to lease a small area of the subject land to Telstra for the tower.

Originally, council wrote to Mr McPaul asking him to consider surrendering his state permits so they could be reissued over a smaller area.

Telstra needs about 60 square metres for the signal tower and offered to cover all of Mr McPaul’s expenses associated with the surrendering of the permits, but McPaul refused the offer.

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