A Spark telecommunications tower that is being erected in Raumati Beach has caused debate on social media.

The tower is being built on a grassy area about the roundabout at Hillcrest Rd and Raumati Rd.

On the Raumati Community Info page on Facebook some people voiced their disquiet including health concerns, while others were nonplussed.

A Spark spokesperson said the 12m tall Raumati tower, which has a range of a couple of kilometres, was part of the company's 4G expansion and upgrade programme.

Advertisement

"We're building this site because of the growth in demand for digital services in the local community.

"This is driven by the number of devices like smartphones, iPads, and connected watches, the newly adopted digital curriculum in schools, as well as customers who are adopting wireless broadband to stream video content like Netflix and Lightbox in their homes.

"As demand reaches capacity on existing cell sites, Spark needs to invest in new infill sites, usually located in areas where people and businesses need the service, to boost coverage and capacity.

"This is occurring in many dozens of locations around New Zealand every year.

"It's also due to the increasing densification in Raumati."

The spokesperson said, "All mobile devices and cell towers are designed to operate within national and international safety limits that incorporate substantial safety margins.

"At Spark we require our mobile devices and cell towers to conform to those standards fully, based on guidelines set by the World Health Organisation.

"The Ministry of Health endorses the New Zealand Standard for radiofrequency field.

Advertisement

"All Spark's mobile cell towers comply with National Environmental Standards including radiofrequency standard [www.health.govt.nz/our-work/environmental-health/non-ionising-radiation/radiofrequency-field-exposure-standard].

"Based on our continuous and robust testing obligations, exposure levels from Spark's cell towers are typically only a small fraction of the exposure limit.

"As part of our obligations to comply with national limits, Spark has commissioned independent monitoring of exposures to radiofrequency fields around our cell sites [www.health.govt.nz/our-work/radiation-safety/non-ionising-radiation/independent-cellsite-monitoring]."

A Kāpiti Coast District Council spokeswoman said council had approved two certificate of compliance applications from Spark to construct and operate new telecommunications facilities within the district.

"One will be located near the intersection of Hillcrest and Raumati roads and the other will be located at 17 Parata St, Waikanae.

"A letter was sent to residents in the Raumati Rd/Hillcrest Rd area notifying them of Spark's intention to install new telecommunications equipment earlier this year.

"Both applications are permitted activity under the National Environmental Standard for telecommunications facilities."