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Cooks Beach cell tower protest

By Pauline Stewart

It all concluded last Tuesday 21 November, and very politely at that. Those in the Cooks Beach community who have been protesting and negotiating regarding the cell tower being erected by Connexa in their community, for the last twelve months, walked away. Their well – supported, reasoned and professional case was to no avail. The community was not against a cell tower. Everyone realises how important strong communication signals are for thousands of holiday makers, for local businesses and of course, for the people who live there all year round. The residents sought to negotiate a change in the position of the tower, which they had researched and that would still work as effectively. “Now the tower will sit at the end of a resident’s driveway, and it is detrimental on so many levels,” says one resident at the site. Connexa will never meet with a group of residents – only one at a time. Residents feel the law didn’t help them and it is clear that TCDC has no say or power at all in the positioning of cell tower sites. “The law is on the side of the telecommunications companies,” says another resident, Sarah Matheson.

It seems rather contradictory in terms of policing resources. “If we didn’t stop protesting (standing there) the local Police would be obliged to call the wagon from Hamilton to arrest us. We didn’t want that waste of resources, though we felt very strongly. The local police have been very good. It’s interesting that local residents are not informed as to when the cell tower construction team will turn up, but the police know, and they do turn up. We have not been unreasonable in all of this,” says Sarah, who has been part of the organised email and meeting protestations since the beginning. “We offered four sites as options. Always, the concerns of our community have been well outlined.”

“From a Spark point of view and Connexa perspective, all they have said is that on paper those sites we have proposed are not as good. It doesn’t matter to them about the devaluing of our properties, or residents having an eyesore a few metres from their home, or children waiting for transport at the base of a cell tower. They don’t live here. How can a private company have so much power? This was our last opportunity to protest. We took it but it was always a done deal for Connexa. Ironically, we pay our rates for that bit of land.

ACCORDING TO THE LAW THIS IS HOW IT IS: Under the Proposed District Plan the activity (construction of a cell tower) is permitted and is a Controlled Activity under the regulations set out in National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities Regulations 2016.

 |  The Informer  | 

By Pauline Stewart

It all concluded last Tuesday 21 November, and very politely at that. Those in the Cooks Beach community who have been protesting and negotiating regarding the cell tower being erected by Connexa in their community, for the last twelve months, walked away. Their well – supported, reasoned and professional case was to no avail. The community was not against a cell tower. Everyone realises how important strong communication signals are for thousands of holiday makers, for local businesses and of course, for the people who live there all year round. The residents sought to negotiate a change in the position of the tower, which they had researched and that would still work as effectively. “Now the tower will sit at the end of a resident’s driveway, and it is detrimental on so many levels,” says one resident at the site. Connexa will never meet with a group of residents – only one at a time. Residents feel the law didn’t help them and it is clear that TCDC has no say or power at all in the positioning of cell tower sites. “The law is on the side of the telecommunications companies,” says another resident, Sarah Matheson.

It seems rather contradictory in terms of policing resources. “If we didn’t stop protesting (standing there) the local Police would be obliged to call the wagon from Hamilton to arrest us. We didn’t want that waste of resources, though we felt very strongly. The local police have been very good. It’s interesting that local residents are not informed as to when the cell tower construction team will turn up, but the police know, and they do turn up. We have not been unreasonable in all of this,” says Sarah, who has been part of the organised email and meeting protestations since the beginning. “We offered four sites as options. Always, the concerns of our community have been well outlined.”

“From a Spark point of view and Connexa perspective, all they have said is that on paper those sites we have proposed are not as good. It doesn’t matter to them about the devaluing of our properties, or residents having an eyesore a few metres from their home, or children waiting for transport at the base of a cell tower. They don’t live here. How can a private company have so much power? This was our last opportunity to protest. We took it but it was always a done deal for Connexa. Ironically, we pay our rates for that bit of land.

ACCORDING TO THE LAW THIS IS HOW IT IS: Under the Proposed District Plan the activity (construction of a cell tower) is permitted and is a Controlled Activity under the regulations set out in National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities Regulations 2016.