Warner Beach signals dissent about proposed cell tower

THE residents of Merritt Avenue and wider Warner Beach are up in arms about the proposed sighting of a 35-metre tall cell tower on the corner of Merritt Avenue and Kingsway.

The property on the right of this photograph has proposed a 35m cell tower and base station built on its property.

 

The residents of the quaint neighbourhood – which is loved for its seaside village ambience – are infuriated over the probable construction of this structure, which is sure to give the area an industrial-feel, among other health-related concerns.
Many in the community stand firm in their collective opinion that this ‘unsightly and unhealthy’ construction should not go ahead.
Nearby resident, Craig Upton said the proposal to erect a 35m monopole telecommunication mast with 5.25m base station poses an array of concerns to those who live nearby.

Village-like Warner Beach, known for its picturesque skyline and view of the ocean, has been notified that a cell tower and base station are to be introduced to the property on the corner of Kingsway and Merritt Avenue.

 

Arguments about the validity of objections to cell towers in densely populated, residential areas rage internationally and while many studies undertaken point to adverse environmental and health impacts, there is a lack of conclusive evidence to this effect.
“The mast construction and base station is going to negatively impact the natural feel, aesthetics of the neighbourhood and skyline,” explained Upton. “Our town, as described on the web, is somewhat of a village. It has that old seaside charm, all of which will certainly change if we continue to litter it with communication towers.”

The immediate surrounding area consists of many bed and breakfasts, backpackers and flats that boom come holiday season.
Upton remarked that in the evening, navigation lights on top of the 35-metre tall tower will be a disturbance, especially to those living higher up to the west of the proposed structure.

Furthermore, there is particular concern about the potential effects on health, especially among the young and old. “There have been numerous papers published as to the health risks associated with these towers, however while this research and debate continues, why would we want to take the risk of exposing our children and families to the possibilities of these illnesses and diseases?” questioned Upton.

“Within a 450m radius of the proposed tower are four residential complexes, two pre-schools and a preparatory school.”

 

The notice.

 

The National Association Against Cell Masts (NAACM) is an organisation opposed to the unnecessary roll-out of untested wireless technology. NAACM reported that cellular companies were in a race to erect as much infrastructure as possible before the introduction of 5G, and before proven health effects of wireless radiation make it more difficult for them to operate.

“This is not about better service or connectivity for customers,” said Niki Moore of NAACM. “This is about introducing fancy new technology for which the cellular companies can charge more. The problem is, this technology has been wholly untested on humans and the environment. There is alarming research emerging about the effects of long-term exposure to high-frequency microwaves, and even the World Health Organisation has now recommended that governments around the world must take care when adopting this new technology until it has been better researched.”

For more information, visit www.naacm.co.za
“Properties not only immediately adjacent to the site, but also in its vicinity will devalue, affecting the investment value of homes,” said Upton. A property valuator whose professional opinion was sought did not confirm this outcome, as such cases have not surfaced yet, but he remarked that the tower’s presence in the area of your home would make it more difficult to market, which is often seen as one and the same thing to a property owner.

“The resale of properties in the area will become increasingly difficult as increased awareness and concerns about these towers grow,” admitted Upton.

The neighbourhood watch group who patrol the area every day only noticed the public notice, which is legally required to be made public for a month before the objection period closes, well into the month.

Village-like Warner Beach, known for its picturesque skyline and view of the ocean, has been notified that a cell tower and base station are to be introduced to the property on the corner of Kingsway and Merritt Avenue.

 

“The motivation letter states there are no other existing towers within an 800-metre radius of this position, however there is a Telkom tower 300m away, an MTN tower 1,200m away and at least a further three towers all within a 2,500m radius,” explained Upton.

Chairman of the CCPO board of directors Albert Swart stated that: “The Constitutional Court held in the matter of Turnbull-Jackson vs Hibiscus Coast Municipality and others in 2014 that, a local authority cannot approve plans that are otherwise compliant with the requirements of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, unless it is satisfied that the proposed tower will not trigger any of the disqualifying factors referred to in section 7 (1)(b)(ii) of the Act,” he said.

Swart explained that these disqualifying factors are:

  • The area in which it is to be erected will probably or in fact be disfigured thereby;
  • It will probably or in fact be unsightly or objectionable;
  • It will probably or in fact derogate from the value of adjoining or neighbouring properties;
  • It will probably or in fact be dangerous to life or property.
  • It demonstrates that it is not only the landowner’s right of ownership which must be taken into account, but also the rights of owners of neighbouring properties which may be adversely affected by the erection of a tower authorised by the approval of the plans in circumstances where they were not afforded a hearing.

“Therefore, it is imperative for the community to stand together and lodge their objections in order to show the local authority that the tower will definitely trigger the disqualifying factors referred to,” explained Swart.

Ratepayers in the area are invited to attend a meeting on Tuesday, 10 July in order to consider their application.

“We trust that when the landowners realise the negative aspects of the tower far outweigh the financial rewards they will receive by leasing the site to Cell C, they will change their minds and withdraw the application,” said Swart.

The meeting will take place at St Winifreds Methodist Church in Warner Beach, starting at 6pm. Environmental consultants and local estate agents are among those who will give presentations about the tower’s impact on the area and its residents.
In view of the discussed points, Upton, Swart, Moore and many others are lobbying for consent to be denied for the mast’s erection and for alternative upgrades and siting to be considered. Many objections have already been lodged and petitions being circulated have accumulated hundreds of signatures.

All objections against the construction of the cell mast must be lodged by Thursday, 28 June as follows:

By hand to the regional co-ordinator, south region of the Land Use Management branch, first floor, 11 Gracedale Road, Winklespruit, or by registered post to PO Box 680, Durban 4000, or by email to keneuwe.mokhutswane@durban.gov.za (please cc southcoastsun33@gmail.com)

(South Regional office telephone: 031-311-5833) and to;

JDT Project Consulting
22 Buttery Road
Umgeni Park
4052

 

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