Paterson MP Meryl Swanson disappointed with delay for Telstra mobile phone tower

Long-suffering residents of Boat Harbour and surrounds will have to wait until at least May 2020 to have their mobile phone reception upgraded.

This was the latest news coming from Telstra, according to federal member for Paterson Meryl Swanson, who has been fighting for the upgrade for more than three years.

A Telstra spokesperson told the Examiner that some late complications had been the cause of delay.

"The installation and structure for this tower is now complete. We had some late complications associated with possible changes regarding power supply to the site," the spokesperson said.

"We are currently working with relevant stakeholders to get this site up and working. We appreciate the concerns of the local community and can assure them that we are working as quickly as possible to have the site up and ready for service."

In her most recent letter to Telstra, Ms Swanson made it abundantly clear that she was extremely disappointed with the delay.

"I wrote to the CEO of Telstra asking him to urgently explain the delays," she said.

"Since 2018, Telstra has continuously moved the goalposts on this important project. My office receives several calls a week about the mobile phone tower in Fishermans Bay, and we are in regular contact with Telstra representatives. This is not good enough."

Ms Swanson said that since 2018, she has had to continually advocate for the urgent escalation of the completion of the mobile phone tower at Boat Harbour, Fishermans Bay and surrounds

"In early 2018 I hosted a community meeting for Boat Harbour and surrounds about the lack of mobile reception in the area and the desperate need for mobile reception to be upgraded.

"Discussions with Telstra at this time indicated that a site had been chosen, a development application (DA) had been submitted and approved, and crown land access permission was in the works and expected to be agreed to within the following weeks.

"Initial advice was that if all went to plan, a new tower could be operational by the end of June 2018. As you are aware, this time-frame was not met and my community is still waiting.

"There has been several revised completion dates provided to my office by Telstra, including the latest on October 29, 2019. To date the tower has been constructed but it is still not operational."

Ms Swanson said that she was hoping for a smooth transition from the build completion to the power connection.

"The latest response has indicated a new completion date of May 2020, with a possibility of limited service to the area by February 2020."

Port Stephens Council approved the second tower in Fishermans Bay in 2019.

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