10 April 2024

Decision finally made on controversial Optus mobile tower

| Jarryd Rowley
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The approved mobile tower at 13 Sycamore Road will give Optus users better 4G and 5G coverage when built.

The approved mobile tower at 13 Sycamore Road will give Optus users better 4G and 5G coverage when built. Photo: Supplied.

A controversial 30-metre-high $385,000 Optus mobile tower planned for 13 Sycamore Road, Lake Albert has received backing from Wagga Wagga City Council following a fortnight of delays.

All but one councillor voted in favour of the new tower despite strong community opposition that expressed concerns about potential disruption to suburban life in Lake Albert.

Wagga City Council General Manager Peter Thompson explained that despite community submissions against the development, applicant Ventia Pty Ltd had satisfied all requirements per the planning laws of NSW.

“It’s a controversial development application,” Mr Thompson said.

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“Controversial development applications are not new to Wagga or any other regional city and that won’t be the last one we have.

“I can certainly empathise with people that live near a mobile communications tower, that it is something that changes their vista and their amenity.

“However, once it’s constructed there are a lot of people in Wagga who get a lot of benefit from a new mobile tower.”

One of the speakers against the tower at Monday’s (8 April) council meeting was Sycamore Road resident Glen Gaudron, who highlighted that 18 of the road’s 42 residents filed a submission against the tower.

“This is a quite significant number of residents opposing this development,” he said.

“When I drive out my gate or look out from my verandah, I’m going to see the tower every time I leave the house.”

Mr Gaudron claimed that owners of alternative sites for the tower had not been approached, despite Ventia Pty Ltd stating that they had.

“They [Ventia Pty Ltd] claimed that 11 Sycamore Road was discounted because they could not get an agreement, but a stat dec by the previous owner states they were never approached.

“The owner at 41 Vincent Road also said he was never approached, yet they [Ventia] are saying these sites were discounted. How can these sites be discounted as alternatives when they haven’t even approached the owners?

“This is a total lie.”

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The planning manager for Ventia, Caitlin Spencer said the planning assessment of the tower was very comprehensive in its detail which adequately covered all the required planning policies and issues sent in by submitters.

“The provision of this structure with 4G and 5G technology will provide improved and immediate enhanced benefits to the community which will outweigh any visual impacts,” she said.

“The proposed monopole and site will also have the capabilities to allow other carriers in the future to co-locate onto the facility.”

Following the public forum at the council meeting, five of the six remaining councillors voted in favour of the tower, with Cr Richard Foley being the only voter against the application.

The group consensus ultimately decided that the tower’s telecommunications benefits to Lake Albert and its surroundings outweighed the potential visual impacts to Sycamore Road residents.

At time of publication, there is no timeline as to when construction of the tower will begin.

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