Petition no obstacle to Charleston Road phone tower, but approaching planes must be considered

Another phone tower looks set to be built at Bendigo TAFE's Charleston Road campus.

Another phone tower looks set to be built at Bendigo TAFE's Charleston Road campus.

A PETITION with 30 signatures is unlikely to be enough to stop a 30 metre phone tower from being built at the Bendigo TAFE Charleston Road campus.

The City of Greater Bendigo has recommended approving the tower when it goes before a vote at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

But before it comes into use, Telstra must complete a safety analysis to make sure the tower will not be an obstacle to pilots coming in to land at the Bendigo Airport.

Telstra plans to use “day lighting” on the tower, rather than physical markings.

In the report to council, council senior planner Peter O’Brien wrote that Telstra must prove how the tower will alert incoming pilots.

“Prior to the development coming into use, a safety analysis in the form of an aeronautic assessment should be undertaken to demonstrate why day lighting should be used in lieu of physical markings,” the report says.

Council staff also found the objectors to the tower – two individuals, and one petition with 30 signatures – did not have grounds for opposition.

The objectors pointed to visual impact, property devaluation, impacts of electromagnetic radiation and building the tower somewhere else as their grounds for complaint.

The council report stated the final three grounds were “not relevant statutory planning grounds which can be considered”, while council believed it had addressed visual impact after the proposed location was moved 130 metres to a different part of the TAFE campus.

The tower will be constructed near the back green of the Bendigo East Bowling Club.

The report found co-location at other sites would be inappropriate.

In its application to council, Telstra spoke of the urgency in having the tower approved in order to improve internet coverage for Kennington North.

“Telstra will be closing down GSM by 1st December, 2016,” the application read.

“Without the 2G/GSM network in operation, Kennington North will experience a noticeable decrease in coverage and capacity, causing a black spot in the area.

“Telstra need to ensure coverage is maintained and additional capacity is provided to the area. This will primarily be provided by the proposed site at Bendigo TAFE.”

City of Greater Bendigo councillors will also consider whether to allow a second floor to be built onto a Queen Street house. The plan received four objections.

The council is in caretaker mode, meaning councillors cannot vote on contracts greater than $100,000 in value, and cannot sign off on major council strategies.

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