Corlette Telstra tower battle may not be over

Corlette Telstra tower battle may not be over

CORLETTE residents are bracing for another battle with Telstra amid concern the company will fight Port Stephens Council's decision to knock back a 30-metre tower.

Corlette resident Shane Darcy said Telstra staff and contractors had been active at the proposed site in recent weeks and he feared the communication company was gearing up for a fight in the Land and Environment Court.

Telstra area general manager Chris Taylor did not confirm or deny it would resubmit an application or challenge the council's previous decision.

"At this stage Telstra is yet to make a decision on whether it will proceed with modifying the proposal and re-submitting the development application for this site," he said.

But he did confirm that personnel had been on site saying balloon flights and a complete site survey were completed "to allow Telstra to further assess the visual impact of the proposed base station".

"Telstra staff and contractors/advisors have been on site in recent weeks in order to gather information as part of an evaluation process," he said.

"Soil samples have also been taken as part of Telstra's investigation to assist in verifying the foundation and footing design."

The work comes after Port Stephens Council knocked back a development application for a tower at 53A Sandy Point Road and 10A Corrie Parade in December.

The decision came after strong community protests from the Corlette Action Group which said the tower was too close to homes and would have a negative impact on home values, views and possibly health.

It was the second time the matter had come before the council with another application, almost identical to last year's, abandoned two years earlier.

Mr Darcy said if a Land and Environment Court Challenge was made the community group would throw its support behind the council.

"We are going to back them 100 per cent," he said.

Mr Taylor said Telstra needed to establish a new site in the Corlette area to meet demand.

"With the Telstra site at Gan Gan Hill having recently been upgraded to its maximum capacity, it is important to establish a new site in Corlette in order to meet the community's growing need for fast and reliable mobile data in the Port Stephens area," he said.

"Should we make the decision to proceed with the development application, we are keen to work with the community and the council on this process."

But Mr Darcy said Telstra's track record of working with the community was lacklustre.

He said he was concerned that recent images taken by Telstra on the ground would not be accurate. He said he had seen personnel taking images from what he believed was an incorrect location at the wrong height.


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