Opposition grows to proposed Telecom cell tower

Published: Wed 7 May 2008 09:44 AM
Opposition grows to proposed Telecom cell phone tower
Members of the Atawhai community in Nelson are preparing to fight Telecom over its intended erection of a cell phone tower. They have started a national petition to block the move, which they intend to present to Parliament in the next month.
Telecom intends to erect a 22-metre high cell phone tower, on a designated site, directly adjacent to Atawhai Playcentre. This is an early childhood education centre catering for preschool children (new born to age six). The location is also of serious concern to Atawhai Brightsparks Preschool another early childcare facility located in very close proximity. In addition school children congregate at the bus stop outside the telephone exchange and there are hundreds of dwellings in the vicinity.
Parents and members of the Atawhai community are concerned about the effect the cell phone tower will have on the future viability of the Playcentre and Brightsparks. Playcentre President, Sarah Allen comments “We are aware that there have been numerous studies of the effects and health risks of cell phone towers. While some contend there are no health risks, other reports state the opposite. Regardless of the actual risk, which still appears to be up for debate, we believe that the perceived health risk will have an impact on the Playcentre and preschool. A number of families have already stated their intention to remove children should the cell phone tower go ahead.”
The action group contends that Telecom is ignoring its own Community Commitments that clearly state “our first choice is to avoid locating mobile phone sites next to educational centres in recognition of local communities’ preferences” and “we are committed to effective and timely dialogue with the community. We actively listen to issues raised and work to address concerns."
Mrs Allen is very excited at the level of support the campaign is already receiving. “We did a local mail drop to inform residents and within hours started receiving offers of help. Amazingly we have also been contacted by people overseas who have been in similar situations and they too want to help. People are not happy about this.”
The proposed site at Corder Park is a gateway to Nelson located along side the Haven Reserve and an open recreational zone on state highway 6, the only route into the City from North.
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