Glenhaven residents will have until Monday February 24 to comment on plans to put a 15m-high cell mast on the grounds of a local church.
Some residents are concerned about the plan for the free-standing mast at the Pentecostal Protestant Church in Glenhaven Avenue, according John Diergaardt, chairman of the Glenhaven Ratepayers’ Association.
“A few of the people received letters, and some of them posted those letters online so practically everybody knows about it and since then, there have been talks of the health risks with many people sending articles about cell masts in other countries and videos about doctors saying how dangerous it is, but, at the same time, people are sending things that say it is safe. So there is a bit of a debate on the groups, but, overall, I do not think there will be too many objections.”
Mr Diergaardt said he felt the cell mast was unnecessary, as the area had fibre and had always had good cellphone reception.
“From what I have been reading about this whole thing, I have seen that many people feel the effects after a few years of living near cell masts while some people never have any issues, so to me, I would rather be safe than sorry and not have it put up. It’s not like we need it in the area, and as I mentioned before it may affect people further down the line.
Then again, I honestly feel that if there is something that people want to use to make money then no matter how much you protest, it will happen. The only way it can be stopped is if everybody sticks together, but for this issue, there are so many different viewpoints so I think it will happen.”
Pastor Jacob Williams said he knew some of the residents had objections, but he claimed all the necessary research had been done.
“The plan for this mast to be built on the church property has been coming on for two years already. We have been in discussions with the builders all that time about this and they assured us that all of the precautions have been taken. We believe that the cell mast will be beneficial to the community while it will also provide an income for the church.”
Dirko Loots, of Warren Petterson Planning, the firm that submitted the application planners who made the application on behalf of the church, said the mast would greatly improve cellphone reception in the area, benefitting both residents and small businesses.
Mr Loots said: “The application has been to rezone the property from a single residential zone 1 to a community zone 2 which is needed to erect the cell mast. Also, a permanent departure application has been made for the southern street boundary line from 5m to 0m in order to erect the mast.
Another departure application has also been made to allow for the parking space required for a community zone 2.”
* Residents who wish to make an objection can do so on the city’s website, capetown.gov.za, using reference number 70461967.