10 May 2023

Controversial phone tower gets green light from council

| Sarah Martin
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COOK Shire Council has approved a controversial 26-metre Telstra tower on Cooktown’s main street, despite community concerns.

Cape York Weekly broke the story on May 30, with Cooktown residents disgusted that Telstra had not advertised the development application for the 26.4-metre tower and associated buildings locally, but rather in the Mareeba-based The Express.

Cook Shire received 23 submissions during the public notification period, with only two in favour of the tower.

However, mayor Peter Scott said the decision to approve the tower at last week’s ordinary council meeting took into account the community’s concerns and the communication benefits the tower would provide.

“The main concern raised by the community was the visual amenity of the site,” he said.

“Council worked with planners who together have mitigated this by adding conditions to the application for the tower to be slimline and painted dark green, and for the site overall to be repaired and updated.

“Council also included a request for an ongoing maintenance plan to be submitted to council before the tower is installed. We don’t want this to be a build-and-forget project.”

Cr Scott said the tower, to be built at the existing Telstra facility on the corner of Walker and Charlotte streets, would improve telecommunications locally.

“Adequate and reliable communications are essential in today’s business, education and safety-conscious world,” he said.

The application claimed the upgrade would relieve congestion on existing Telstra infrastructure, which is not able to adequately cover the northern and central parts of Cooktown.

“Using safe and proven technology, the new and upgraded addition to Cooktown’s CBD will provide a real and necessary benefit to meet demands from our increasing resident, visitor and business populations, the new Country University Centre and the disaster management challenges faced by our region,” Cr Scott said.

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