Tower plan at tribunal

Rubbish lying in the passages.

Telkom Mobile’s plan to build a cell tower base station at a Monte Vista crèche was shot down by outraged residents last year, but that wasn’t the end of the matter.

The application to put up the tower at the Boulevard Play and Baby Centre (“Cellphone mast opposed”, Northern News, April 27, 2016) reached the Municipal Planning Tribunal, which met in Bellville yesterday, Tuesday February 14.

While residents thought the application had been abandoned in the wake of a public outcry, the City of Cape Town said there was outstanding information, and the application had since been resubmitted.

Meanwhile, another application, for a cell tower at erf 627, 94 Monte Vista Boulevard, has been lodged – with the objection period closing on Monday February 20.

The Monte Vista Ratepayers’ Association (MVRA) said they would BE guided by the will of the residents on whether the application by MTN met with a “yea or nay”.

Last year, residents cited health fears and the visual impact of a 15m-high tower in their objection to Telkom Mobile’s application to put the base station at the crèche.

In a report at the Municipal Planning Tribunal, residents cited more reasons for not wanting the mast at the crèche, namely: the threat they felt it posed to property values, the availability of more suitable alternative sites and existing “excellent cellphone coverage”.

In its response, Telkom Mobile said: there was no conclusive evidence linking cell towers to illness; it needed to improve the current system and the crèche was well situated, secure and easily accessible for maintenance contractors.

In the report, City planners agree with residents that there are more suitable options for such a base station elsewhere in the area, citing erf 63, which it said is south-west of the crèche, “within the business strip along Monte Vista Boulevard”.

Co-owner of Boulevard Play and Baby Centre, Desiree Opperman told Northern News last week that they had not received any feedback on the installation of the Telkom Mobile tower.

Last year, Ms Opperman said they would not go ahead with the plan “if it is in any way harmful to the community and children”.

MTN confirmed its application for erf 627, 94 Monte Vista Boulevard, saying it was a “standard process for network deployment in Cape Town”.

“MTN’s decision to add sites is based on coverage complaints, drive tests, predictions and capacity constraints,” said spokesman Mamello Raborifi.

MVRA said it would approach the residents at the three houses behind erf 627 to get their opinions on the application.

“We will go with the decision of the residents. It’s not that we’re against it (cell masts), it has always been about the position,” said MVRA secretary Riana de Wet.

The City of Cape Town said it had received a petition against the application.

“As the deadline has not been reached yet, we may receive further objections, response, individually or in a petition format,” said Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development.

Warren Petterson Planners, which acted on behalf of Telkom Mobile and MTN in the applications, did not respond to questions sent by Northern News.