Community benefit of mobile tower overrides visual impact

NEW TOWER: The existing mobile tower stands at 10m, while the new lattice tower will be more than triple that height, standing at 36.6m.
NEW TOWER: The existing mobile tower stands at 10m, while the new lattice tower will be more than triple that height, standing at 36.6m. Gladstone Regional Council

GLADSTONE Regional Council has approved a 36.6m tall telecommunications tower, despite concerns that it could be an eyesore, and without knowing exactly how it would benefit residents.

The new lattice tower will replace an existing 10m monopole tower in Tondoon Botanic Gardens.

Council's own planning department recommended that the council knock back the design of the tower because it would be too ugly.

While a different design was suggested, applicant Optus rejected that, insisting the lattice tower was needed for safety reasons.

Council said the tower would not be too ugly, but the visual impacts of the tower would be outweighed by the benefits it would provide.

It was also suggested that the lattice design could accommodate further aerials should the need arise.

"Sometimes I think we need to look at community benefit, and the area around that, along Kirkwood Rd in Glen Eden…they can't get access to computers," Mayor Gail Sellers said.

"At some time or rather we need to say that the community benefit overrides the visual impact.

"This is of major benefit to the community. How many complaints do we get about the computer access out there?"

While not all councillors were in agreement that the lattice tower was the way to go when an alternative monopole of the same size was available, most were in agreement about the benefits it would provide to the surrounding community.

It is believed that while the council was told that the new tower would boost mobile coverage in the area, it was not told how much it would boost coverage before approving the development.



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