Community up in arms over cell tower

Helen Hoekstra, Heathfield

Residents of Heathfield are rightfully very unhappy as they have spent two years trying to prevent a cell tower from being erected – right next to a community church.

The community have had three victories thus far – once at a sub-council meeting, once by error on the applicant’s side and the third time at a municipal planning tribunal hearing. Each time, the applicants, Warren Petterson Planning, appealed the outcome and so it keeps returning.

This is reminiscent of how large corporations with lots of resources are able to eventually exhaust community’s capacity and resources.

At the last appeal, community members yet again submitted their complaints and, without any further engagement on this issue, they were told suddenly that the tower was going ahead. How did they get this right without public participation? They went to the mayor and managed to get her to sign it off.

Surely there is a point when a victory is a victory, and not open for appeal any longer? We have also heard of other sites where this has happened. How can this be democratic, when a single individual can override multiple processes?

Today, Thursday December 21, at 10.30am. community will be gathered in protest outside the tented church on Galway Road by the parking area, where the footing of the tower and palisade fencing has been erected already,