Consultation on tower questioned

Mt Aspiring Rd resident Barry Bruce is unhappy about the construction of an 11m cellphone tower...
Mt Aspiring Rd resident Barry Bruce is unhappy about the construction of an 11m cellphone tower next to his property without any consultation. Photo: Sean Nugent
Construction of a new Spark cellphone tower in Wanaka has irked a nearby resident, who says he was not consulted.

Foundations are being laid for the 11m tower to be built on road reserve on Mt  Aspiring Rd, near the corner of Bills Way.

While it had been issued a certificate of compliance to do so by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, resident Barry Bruce questioned the lack of consultation from Spark.

"I got a letter in August from Spark saying what their plans were, but I seem to have been the only one. I spoke to the other residents last week and they hadn’t even heard about it.

"I know it’s on road reserve but I wonder what thoughts Spark had given to the local residents before going ahead with this," Mr Bruce said.

"We live in an age where we have pretty tight rules around what we can and cannot do in terms of the Resource Management Act, yet something which can have quite  detrimental visual amenities can just be plonked there as of right."

Spark lead corporate relations partner Michelle Baguley said the company had "consulted at length on this site" and exhausted all other options for the location of the tower.

"The location on Mt Aspiring Road has been specifically chosen after months of research and network design as it can provide mobile service to the local subdivision and nearby campsites.

"We do understand Mr Bruce’s concerns, and it’s a constant balancing act for us to meet the growing needs of the wider community while managing the expectations of others."

Ms Baguley said Spark had not received any complaints from anyone other than Mr Bruce and had "full support" from the council and the Wanaka Community Board for the project, which she said was needed to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for mobile services in the town.

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