In what they believe could be the fight of their lives a number of Griffith residents are speaking out against the proposed construction of a mobile phone tower just metres away from their homes.
The proposed Optus tower, which according to plans is a 32.5 metre monopole with supporting antennas and associated equipment, will be located at the rear of the Coro Club on Harward Road.
Optus says it will help cater for the growing demand for mobile services and if the investment is not made, users may have difficulty connecting to the network, or face call drop outs as well as reduced data speeds and longer download times.
While the need for improved mobile services in regional areas has the support of Harward Road residents, the tower's proposed location and alleged related risks do not.
Helen Wylie bought her home on Harward Road a few years ago.
It was meant to be a place where her growing family of grandchildren could come to visit, but now it may no longer be the oasis she had planned.
Of critical concern for Mrs Wylie is the research into the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phone base stations.
The maximum exposure to EME levels allowed is limited under Australian standards, with Optus’ proposal only .62 per cent of the public exposure limit.
But Mrs Wylie says this standard was set some years back with further research into the dangers in Australia minimal.
She says until there is concrete evidence they will not harm her or her family it’s not a risk she is willing to take.
“I do understand that there is a need for towers such as these to be erected but believe that they should be erected in areas that limit the exposure to great numbers of people thereby reducing the health risk to large numbers of people developing cancers,” she said.
In its statement of environmental effects Optus states the site was chosen in part because “it is located on the fringe of the residential area and not considered to be a focal point.”
But Mrs Wylie and her neighbours are adamant they shouldn’t be collateral damage.
“They consider us to be on the fringe, and that is fine but we still count,” she said, suggesting Optus consider a more rural area leaving no one at risk.
The development application to build the tower is not considered to be low impact and therefore requires the consent of Griffith City Council, according to Mrs Wylie who urged the community to express their concerns in writing to council by 4pm on Friday, June 2.
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