Cell mast plan for church

Rodricia Mabanza, of Elsies River High School, browsing the bookshelves.

A Goodwood church says the potential income generated from allowing a cell mast to be put up on a portion of its grounds would contribute to the institution’s outreach and welfare initiatives in the community.

However, not all Goodwood residents share the church’s sentiments and question the City’s processes and approval procedures regarding the installation of such structures.

Residents have until Monday April 9, to forward their objections and comments regarding Atlas Towers’ proposal to erect a cell mast on the premises of the Goodwood Friend of God Assembly of the Apostolic Faith Mission, in Riebeek Street, Tygerdal.

The proposal entails rezoning a 98-square metre portion of land from single residential 1 (SR1) to Utility Zoning (UT) to allow for a telecommunications base station with a 25-metre tree-like mast.

Secretary of the church, Henry Strydom, said Atlas Towers had approached the church to obtain permission to have the cell mast put up on its grounds.

“We acceded to this request as we felt that it would not detract from the aesthetics of the church building and at the same time it would generate money for the church to be used to expand the welfare and community arm of our assembly,” he said.

Mr Strydom said the income generated from their bigger advertising tower is also used exclusively by their welfare and community arm.

“We live in a time when the church has to be very involved in the community and in the uplifting of those in need that is why we have no objection to the tower being built,” he said.

Mr Strydom said he had received no objections from the church’s
2 400 congregants.

Asked about the possible health risk that the cell mast could pose, Mr Strydom said: “We are not aware of any health risks associated with such towers. We are aware of people around the globe who, from time to time, point out the risks associated with mobile phones and microwave ovens but we live in a day and age where virtually everything is electronically driven and there is simply no turning back,” he said.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg said on Monday March 15 that the application had been brought to her attention through the current public participation process.

“I have not received any objections – the public will respond through the public participation process,” she told Northern News.

Quizzed about her thoughts on yet another cell mast going up in the area, Ms Janse van Rensburg said: “I hope residents will respond to the invitation to comment through the public participation process. These comments will be part of the report that will serve before the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT).The process must follow its due course.”

Atlas Towers’ Wian von Solms said the company had submitted its proposal to set up a cell mast to the City of Cape Town on Friday February 9.

“We chose that specific spot because church property is big and under-utilised. There is only one other cell tower that we are busy constructing in the area due to Goodwood being highly dense. Church grounds are always bigger and are mainly used by parishioners for parking on Sundays,” he said.

Mr Von Solms said they hoped to build a 25-metre tree-like mast but that is not cast in stone as the proposal must still go through the planning process.

“In the Western Cape, it is difficult, to get approval to set up cell towers as you always get a lot of objections,” he added.

The other cell tower Mr Von Solms mentioned is situated next to the OK Mini-Mart, at 96 Vasco Boulevard (“Ire over approval of cell mast,” Northern News, March 21).

Residents were left irate after the cell mast approval, which had initially been denied, was later overturned and given the green light by mayor Patricia de Lille through her Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Thursday August 3.

Faizel Petersen, chairman of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association said on Monday March 26, following the publication of Northern News’ article, that there seemed to be a drive by the City of Cape Town to roll out mass communication systems regardless of the impact to or objections by the community. “I think that more questions need to be directed from people around the city to enquire what public participation process was followed by the appeals process. Was the community advised or are the contractors just given the go-ahead regardless of the impact to residents?” he said.

Northern News has still not received a response to questions sent to the mayor’s office on Monday March 19.

* To object or comment on the latest proposal, residents can email comment_objections.tygerberg@capetown.gov.za,