Nearby residents expressed concern after hearing the tower, carrying communications equipment for the RFS and police, could be constructed to replace the current drying pole at the back of the Glenbrook-Lapstone RFS station on Hodgson Road.
Dr Mark Tracy and his wife, Professor Sally Tracy, live directly behind the site and have started a petition against the idea, citing problems with the tower’s size, noise, the fact it will be located in a residential area and the effect it would have on property values.
Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill also moved an urgency motion at the February 22 Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) meeting calling on the emergency services to consult with the council and community over the plans.
Concerned: Deputy Mayor Mark Greenhill and Ward 4 councillor Fiona Creed discuss the issue with a resident.
But RFS mobile assets group manager, Chief Superintendent Bruce McDonald, said a definitive decision on whether to proceed with the tower was yet to be made.
“We formally advised the council that we would like to think about accepting a deal with the police where they replace the drying pole with a tower . . . that’s twice the height,” he said.
“What we have been doing is preparatory work to see, a. whether the site would accept a 30 metre tower, b. whether the brigade was comfortable, and whether council was comfortable for the arrangement before we went down the path of looking at getting drawings.
“Whether it was dealt with under the SEPP [State Environmental Planning Policy] or under the BA [Building Application] process, there’s a need to notify adjoining land owners as part of the planning process.”
The plans needed to be drawn up before community consultation could take place, he said.
“There is no point going and saying it will be about 30 metres, it will be somewhere in the yard . . . you have to work out those arrangements, and if there’s a noise problem or any of those sorts of things, you need to have all that addressed so people are comfortable, or uncomfortable and can make an informed objection,” Chief Superintendent McDonald said.
If the emergency services went ahead with the idea, the plans would be drawn up in the next three or four weeks, he said.
Clr Greenhill said while the council had no jurisdiction over such communications towers, he moved to call for full disclosure.
“Something like this needs to be discussed,” he said.
“Affected residents and their elected representatives need to be told what is going on.”
Fellow Ward 4 councillor Fiona Creed said there was already a communications tower nearby and she was concerned about health risks.
“We represent the people who live here and we believe they should be given meaningful input into this,” she said.
Both expressed a preference for an alternative site well clear of homes.