NBN tower approved
AFTER months of deliberation, the controversial NBN fixed wireless tower at 353 Stabiles Rd, Glen Aplin, was finally approved at last week's general council meeting.
Part of the Federal Government's broadband scheme, NBN Co's initial application for the 40m-tall tower received 12 submissions from concerned residents.
Acting on behalf of NBN Co, Daly International supplied additional information reiterating the proposed site was the most viable option, but the applicants denied Southern Downs Councillors' request to meet on-site.
Southern Downs Mayor Peter Blundell said he was unimpressed with the applicants' handling of the situation.
"I think everyone is disappointed at the lack of consultation with the community," Mr Blundell said.
Glen Aplin resident Peter Burton echoed the mayor's sentiments, acknowledging the council's efforts to appease concerns.
"I'm disappointed that Daly International wouldn't come to the party and meet with councillors and landholders," Mr Burton said.
"I'm grateful to the council for putting the effort in to respond to our submissions."
Residents had suggested a more convenient location for the tower would have been at a nearby property on Kruger Lane, but Daly International argued the site would compromise the quality of the signal.
A letter to the council from town planner Michael Loughnan said shifting the site would result in "a net loss of 43 houses subsequently able to connect to the fixed wireless network".
However, Peter Burton is not convinced.
"I'm a bit dubious that nearly 45 people would miss out by moving the site," Mr Burton said.
"But I can't really argue. We just have to accept it."
Cr Neil Meiklejohn said the council was left with no choice but to approve the application.
"We have exhausted every opportunity to try to get a better outcome, but we have to consider this on its merits and move in line with the recommendation," Cr Meiklejohn said.
Nevertheless, Cr Denise Ingram and Cr Jamie Mackenzie voted against the recommendation to approve the construction.
A tower at The Summit, which drew one objection, was also given the green light at the council meeting, taking the total number to four approved NBN fixed wireless towers on the Granite Belt so far.
The council is still waiting on advice from a referral agency for the application at 510 Mount Tully Rd, Mount Tully.