The transition into the next technological age brings enhanced communications but at a potential cost to those directly and indirectly impacted by new infrastructure, compromising our country lifestyle.
A group of Bullsbrook hills residents and City of Swan Councillors stood united on 19 June to protest against a telecommunications tower planned on picturesque Crestmoor Pass.
The proposed tower is 43m or 14 storeys high and its location is less than 100m from the nearest dwelling and within 200m of 17 properties. The group voiced concerns regarding adverse health, visual, lifestyle, amenity and land valuation and resale impacts.
Christine Spycher’s property is 120m from the tower site. She has been fighting the tower for 2 years, driven by issues she asserts are associated with electromagnetic radiation emitted from towers. “We don’t want to be another statistic. The levels of radiation acceptable in Australia are well above those of other developed countries.”
Another nearby resident, Helen Williams, said it was a “David and Goliath battle” and construction had already commenced. The application was rejected by the City of Swan based on adverse impact on amenity and contravention of the local planning scheme. Despite this and over 100 statements from residents, the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) granted approval for the Tower in November 2016. Helen questioned “Why do our authorities have no power to protect the rights of those that voted them in?”
The protest made statewide news on the Channel 7 Today Tonight program. The story has been the catalyst for connecting the group with other Perth Hills communities affected by towers. Christine said, “We would like to share our experience with others seeking help in facing the same problem. Our facebook page is No Tower on Crestmoor Pass.
A significant group of Bullsbrook residents have also united in their opposition to a proposal for the use of construction and demolition materials as landfill, in multiple pits, at the old Midland Brick Quarry at the end of Hoad Street.
Their concerns mirror those of the Crestmoor Pass group with the addition of noise, dust, asbestos waste, water contamination, impact on a registered roosting site of the endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and hazardous traffic conditions. There are a number of Rosa Park residential properties within 150m of the site and for one it would mean the end to a registered Bed and Breakfast business and loss of income. The noise level would be too loud for an open window.
Anne Sibbel, President of the Bullsbrook Residents and Ratepayers Association (BRRA), explained, “There would be about 160 truck movements along Chittering Road 6 days a week, with around one every 4 minutes. These will pass Bullsbrook College and homes and with them will come noise, dust and hazardous traffic conditions. There are 23 large school buses twice a day travelling in and out of Bullsbrook.”
The first time the applications were open for public comment more than 600 objections were made and a petition organised by BRRA was presented to the City of Swan in March with more than 1,300 signatures. The City rejected the Chittering Road application on delegated authority and the Proponent subsequently appealed the decision at SAT. The original Jenkins Rd proposal was withdrawn by the proponent and resubmitted earlier this year.
The public comment period for the latest 2 proposals closed on 28 June. “BRRA put in objections to the Jenkins and Chittering Road proposals on the grounds of unacceptable impacts on the amenity of people who live along the transport route and in Rosa Park, and road safety on Chittering Road especially in the vicinity of the school and where trucks will exit and enter 737 Chittering Road.”
Both groups are seeking reform. They want community involvement in the SAT process and the right to third party appeal decisions by SAT and Joint Development Assessment Panels. The groups are also calling for a third party independent body to be involved in planning decisions and mediation when there is a lack of agreement between the local government authority and SAT.