Street fight over cellphone pole

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Original site in reserve changed to residential street because council said it would interfere with the trees.

Residents of Stanmore Bay Rd are up in arms over plans to erect a cellphone pole in their street.  Photo / Brett Phibbs
Residents of Stanmore Bay Rd are up in arms over plans to erect a cellphone pole in their street. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The Auckland Council has stopped a mobile phone pole being erected in a park because it would threaten trees - so instead it will be put up in a Whangaparaoa street.

The move has outraged residents of Stanmore Bay Rd, who have complained to mobile phone company 2degrees and the council that the pole will ruin beach views, devalue their properties and possibly cause health problems.

2degrees told the Herald the original site was away from homes, at the Stanmore Bay Reserve, but negotiations broke down with the council on that and a second option on a berm in Brightside Rd.

Since the complaints, work on the pole - which resembles a lamp-post but with a separate fixture at the top - has stopped in Stanmore Bay Rd.

Chris Field's property is almost directly opposite the site and he said the pole would ruin neighbours' beach views- something people had paid big money for.

"People have bought houses up on the hills overlooking the sea and then suddenly somebody wants to come in and wants to put in a 45m pole.

"It's all a bit unsightly and there is the health problem - various people consider that to be a danger - and the reduction of property values."

Mr Field said residents were told previously that 2degrees had planned to build a cellphone pole outside the Stanmore Bay Reserve, which is further down the street and has no homes around it.

But it is understood the council asked the company to find a different spot, as the pole would interfere with trees at the reserve.

"That seems to be ... like they're putting trees before people," Mr Field said.

A spokeswoman for 2degrees, Charlene White, confirmed the company's original plan was to build away from homes, on a berm in Brightside Rd, near the reserve and local Leisure Centre.

"However, this requires resource consent and other approvals. After extensive discussions with council's parks and planning departments, they concluded that they would not support it."

She said the company had also worked hard to keep residents in the loop and had even encouraged them to ask the council to let them build on the other sites.

The 2degrees letter to residents said: "Given council have already indicated they will not support a site in the road reserve outside the park, we need your community to lend their collective support for our proposal to council, as it may provide further weight and assist with changing their mind."

Auckland Council's Julie Bevan, manager northern consenting and compliance, said yesterday that under the Government's National Environmental Standard, it was a permitted activity for 2degrees to put the pole on the Stanmore Bay Rd site.

"If the Brightside Rd site is preferred by the company, it will have to apply for resource consent because there is not an existing pole available to place it on."

Auckland Council refused to say what its objections were to the original site. A spokesman said the council would only look into other possible locations once 2degrees had applied for resource consent.

Work on the Stanmore Bay Rd site will resume from March 1 if a separate location has not been approved.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 25 Jul 2014 15:50:26 Processing Time: 471ms