Anger at plans for cellphone tower

Brighton residents at Ocean View Memorial Hall last night express their concerns with 2degrees' plans to install a cellphone tower. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Brighton residents at Ocean View Memorial Hall last night express their concerns with 2degrees' plans to install a cellphone tower. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A worked-up crowd of Brighton residents made it clear to 2degrees it will have a fight on its hands if it continues with plans to erect a cellphone tower in the community.

About 70 residents attended an information session held by 2degrees at Ocean View Memorial Hall last night, to express concern over the company's plans to erect a tower close to homes in Scroggs Hill Rd.

The meeting comes after residents on the road were informed just over a week ago that a 12m tower would be installed within the next 20 days. Since then, a group called Brighton Residents v 2degrees has been formed.

At the heated public meeting, residents told 2degrees they were concerned about the health impacts of the tower and they were angry about a lack of consultation. Many suggested 2degrees should install a tower on a site further from people's homes.

There was enthusiastic support when one member of the crowd suggested the community should boycott 2degrees. Some people also expressed disappointment with the Dunedin City Council for failing to let them know about plans for the tower. Scroggs Hill Rd resident Adam Pauley said 2degrees should have held a meeting before settling on a site for the tower and he feared that the company had already made up its mind.

Brighton Residents v 2degrees spokesman Daryl Hanna said the group would continue to fight the tower if 2degrees opted to continue with its plans.

Ian Bowen, whose grandchildren live in Scroggs Hill Rd, said the health effects of cellphone towers was under dispute in the scientific community.

''While we have got conflicting accounts from the experts ... aren't we better to be very cautious about this,'' he said.

2degrees external communications manager Charlene White, who was at the meeting, would not be drawn on whether the company was open to choosing another site.

There was much ''misinformation'' about the health effects of the towers and it was hoped the information session would allay people's fears about the tower, which would be well within the standards set by the New Zealand Ministry of Health, Ms White said.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Keith McFayden said the meeting had the largest turnout of any community meeting he had been to in the area - which showed just how opposed the community was to the tower.

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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