Optus tower at Harwood Island


I’m writing to let you in on what appears to me to be a deliberate secret.

Why should it be a secret if this proposal is fair and reasonable? Legally it appears it can be done; ethically it’s a different story.

Optus Catalyst want to build a mobile tower at Lot 1 DP214989 Harwood (driveway shows 88 Careys Lane), about 50 metres from our home; in fact it is proposed to be located amongst a cluster of homes located up the road from the Big River Sailing Club. It is also close to areas zoned E2 for Environmental Conservation, containing tidal wetlands and a valuable eco-system with migratory birds I have photographed. One is mapped as a Coastal Wetland under SEPP 2018 Coastal Management, as it is a significant coastal wetland.  This tower could damage our families health, and the fragile eco-system; one of the last remnants of native vegetation on Harwood Island.

Apparently, Optus is able to do this because even the smallest of local’s homes and properties in the area are zoned rural (though rated R1 Residential by council), so Optus claim it is an Exempt and Complying development – it doesn’t even have to go out as a development application from council. Harwood is well known to contain Acid Sulfate soils: if council is not involved, the question must be asked: How do we know that the issue of Acid Sulfate soil management complies with the CVLEP when they dig the tower’s foundations?

The consultation process has not complied with the Communications Alliance Ltd INDUSTRY CODE C564_2018-181206 as required by the ACMA; in fact it has been totally botched. Some of my neighbours only found out a few days back when I rang them. Along with several others near the proposed tower, I never received an official notification. My home is the nearest to the proposal; so is classified as being a “Sensitive Location”; however there appears to have been no consideration towards us at all. The website Optus quoted to find out about the proposal opened to a blank page; I complained to the ACMA who had this remedied. The proposed location was wrongly identified. Optus had an option to place a notice in the Public Notice section of local newspapers, but chose not to do so. No public meeting has been convened.

Now, there remains just a few days until the Close of Submissions on Friday July 05, but hardly anyone knows about this proposal – it appears to be a deliberate sneeky squirrel secret to me. When you’re doing something good for the community, you should be able to be open and transparent about it; but that’s the trouble, I don’t believe this to be a good proposal.  I’m calling on Optus to hold a public meeting to explain the proposal to the community, look at more suitable locations away from houses and sensitive environmental areas, and to answer questions. We all know mobile towers are necessary, but just ask yourself how you would feel if it were being located beside your home. The next step will be to add the controversial 5G to the system.

Please, could you encourage your readers to put in a submission via email to Andrew Johnson Consultant Planner Catalyst O.N.E. Pty Ltd on behalf of Optus Mobile Pty Ltd [email protected] Ask if it is possible to have the clock re-set on the Consultation process.

A sentence or two, with something like:

‘Re: Proposal to install a mobile phone base station at Lot 1 DP214989 Careys Lane HARWOOD NSW 2465

Dear Andrew, I have been told that a number of local people did not receive notifications with regard to the Consultation process until very recently.

I request that you please either re-set the Consultation process, or Extend it by a few weeks, to allow people time to prepare their Submissions. I also request that you convene an information meeting.

Yours Sincerely’

Currently submissions close Friday 5th July 2019. The website for information on this proposal is: www.rfnsa.com.au/2465003

Pearl Ryan,
Harwood Island