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Nymboida resident Brenden Stockdale sought Clarence Valley’s assistance during the Public Forum section of its February meeting. Image: Geoff Helisma

Telstra ‘rejects’ Nymboida monopole objections

Geoff Helisma | Telstra has effectively rejected the objections of Nymboida village residents in its response to Brenden Stockdale, whose house is about 20 metres from a planned 30 metre-high monopole. The monopole, which is being funded by the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP), is located within 150 metres – the minimum distance within which consent is necessary in residential zones – of several other properties. However, the residences are in an RU2 zone, under which the minimum lot size is 40 hectares – Mr Stockdale’s block is 1,316 square metres; other ‘village’ blocks are of a similar size. State planning laws refer to a tower being within 150 metres of a residential zone (not a residence); consequently the proposed tower is technically compliant. Telstra’s detailed response to Mr Stockdale’s submission, which included a petition signed by 48 of the village’s residents, spelled this out: “The site for the Proposed Facility is considered to be a Complying Development under the provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) Amendment (Telecommunications Facilities) 2010 (ISEPP), as the site is zoned as RU2, Rural Landscape Zone. “This land use classification allows for telecommunications structures of up to 50 meters [sic] in height…. “In this instance, Telstra reduced the initial height of the Proposed Facility from 40 metres to 30 metres in consideration of the site characteristics within the rural settlement area of Nymboida.” “…Monopoles are also permitted with local Council consent in specific situations in Village and Residential Zones. “…The MBSP has funded a site within the Nymboida settlement area. “This means that any alternate candidate would still be located within the township in close proximity to residences.” For Mr Stockdale’s part, he says he is now relying on Page MP Kevin Hogan “to act on our behalf to the Federal black spot funding program”. Mr Stockdale recently met with Mr Hogan, Clarence Valley’s mayor, Jim Simmons, and Cr Greg Clancy. Mr Hogan said that the council is unable to intervene, because under the state’s planning laws the monopole does not need consent. He said he had spoken with a Telstra representative, who said “this is their third preferred site”, and that he will continue negotiating with Telstra. “I’ve written previously and made verbal contact to see if they were talking to people affected, and they said they would,” he said. Meanwhile, Telstra says in Mr Stockdale’s correspondence that it is “currently assessing the submissions received from members of the community and will shortly provide an update on the status of the site (including a Consultation Report)”. When the report is completed, it will be uploaded to 2460030.