Constantia residents oppose plan for cell tower

The field off Lucius Way being considered by the City of Cape Town for leasing to build a cell tower.

A City proposal to lease a portion of land in The Vines, Constantia, for a 12-metre high cell tower has drawn flak from residents.

The public has until Monday August 15 to comment on the proposal to lease a 24m² portion of a field in Lucius Way to Rich Rewards Pty Ltd for a base rental income of R4 500 for 10 years with the option to renew.

The site is bordered by Lucius Way and Quintus Way and by several homes. It’s also less than one kilometre from four schools in the area, the nearest being South Peninsula High School and Honeycomb Montesorri Pre-School.

The purpose of the tower is for “uninterrupted telecommunications services to the community,” according to a notice in a document intended for ratepayers, civic groups, and the sub-council’s notice board. A notice was also published in the Cape Argus and Die Burger in July.

Ward 73 councillor Eddie Andrews met with eleven concerned residents at residents home in Lucius Way, on Friday November 5.

Chairing the meeting, resident Richard Theron said there was no need for the tower as there were no connectivity problems in the area; the land was used by dog walkers and the children regularly played on the field, using it as a park; and residents were worried about the impact of radio frequency radiation on their health.

The American Cancer Society has this to say about exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation: “At this time, there’s no strong evidence that exposure to RF waves from cell phone towers causes any noticeable health effects. However, this does not mean that the RF waves from cell phone towers have been proven to be absolutely safe. Most expert organisations agree that more research is needed to help clarify this, especially for any possible long-term effects.”

Mr Andrews urged residents who wanted to comment or make objections to do so through a submission to the City of Cape Town Property Management’s Danielle Liedeman.

Honeycomb Montesorri Pre-School said in statement: “We value the environment our children are in, and what they are exposed to. With a high regard for our learners and staffs health and safety, we cannot justify better reception with poor health. We strongly oppose the installation of the telecommunications infrastructure.”

Martius Way resident Paul Gray said: “There is no note of what the tower would be used for and the strength of frequency. Who says this land is underutilised? This has been used as a park for 45 years.”

Mr Theron said: “Council wasn’t prepared to face the fact that cellphone towers in residential areas pose health risks to the people in that community. They will hide behind that there is a process.”

Larry Sherman, of Lucuis Way, said Cape sparrow hawks hatched chicks every year on a 12m-high tree on the site.

His concern also run a little closer to home as the proposed tower would be 5m from his bedroom.

“The mast will roughly be right against my property. My roof height is 4m high, the mast is going to be 12m high, 8m above it,” said, adding that from his garden, all he will see is “the mast in all its glory”.

The Constantiaberg Bulletin had not received comment from the City of Cape Town or Rich Rewards at the time of print.