Beaufort residents want Pyrenees Shire to move planned location of Optus mobile phone tower

BEAUFORT residents want Pyrenees Shire councillors to refuse planning permission for a new Optus mobile phone tower, which they claimed was too close to homes.

Optus has proposed to build a 35-metre high monopole behind the St John the Baptist Catholic Church on Leichhardt Street.

Exisiting trees near the site reach 20 metres in height.

The land for the tower will be leased from the Roman Catholic Trusts Corporation for the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat.

A group of residents gathered by the church on Tuesday to protest against the tower’s location and sign a petition to Pyrenees Shire.

One resident lives on the other side of the church’s car park and was concerned about possible health impacts.

The residents are also concerned that the tower’s electronic emissions would make it less likely that the old Beaufort Primary School building across the street will ever re-open.

They have pointed to Camp Hill as a more suitable location, as it overlooks most of Beaufort and the area around the proposed tower.

The residents were under the impression that the Pyrenees Shire Council would vote on planning permission at its ordinary meeting on Tuesday.

However, the decision has been delayed as Optus has submitted amendments to its application in response to prior written objections.

“Following Council-facilitated mediation sessions conducted earlier in 2017, Council has received amended information from applicants for a Telecommunications Facility (Monopole Tower) in Beaufort,” Pyrenees Shire Council’s meeting agenda stated.

“The amendments generally respond to matters raised during mediation and in objections.

“Objectors have been advised of these amendments in writing, and have been provided with time to advise Council as to whether their position on the applications has changed.

“These permit applications will be presented to Council for decisions in the next two months.”

Beaufort resident Barbara Edmonds had submitted an objection to to the visual impact of the tower proposal.

“It would be visible to many parts of the town,” she stated.

“I believe that Beaufort has a unique charm that many country towns do not.”

Ms Edmonds stated she was concerned about the potential impact of current and future residents.

“I understand that technology is an important part of society but surely this could be handled with sensitivity to the overall charm of Beaufort, for residents and visitors alike.”

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