A pole lot of trouble

Optus’s notice went up without many knowing what was going on.

ATTADALE residents are up in arms about a “radiocommunications” facility they say will create a traffic hazard on the Ormond and Stoneham Roads intersection – while the 5G debate looms in the background.

David Rowe lives near the intersection and told the Herald the first he knew about the Optus facility was a notice stuck to a power pole last week saying it would house three antennae.

Next to the pole will be an equipment cabinet which Mr Rowe says is his biggest concern.

“This intersection is already extremely challenged by the number of cars and pedestrians using and crossing Stoneham and Ormond Roads, and this pole and cabinet installation will certainly create a blindspot and obstacle that should not exist there.”

He says a better site is next to some existing electrical boxes about 150 metres away on the corner of Ern Stapleton reserve, or somewhere along Burke Drive.

“I’ve been a first responder to a few accidents, and when you’re sitting in the car holding bandages against their cuts or cold packs against their bruises, it really makes you stop and think,” he said.

Mr Rowe said the protest campaign was a hot topic on the Attadale Community Group website, as it was being viewed as a sort of litmus test with the roll-out of 5G networks across the country expected to bring a “tsunami” of antenna applications.

He’s also wondering why privately-operated companies are getting the use of publicly-owned infrastructure and whether Western Power’s poles have been tested to ensure they can handle the new infrastructure.

While the proposed antennae are for the 4G network, it’s likely they’ll be upgraded to 5G in the future, leading to one anonymous resident letter-dropping a three-pager to neighbours voicing concerns about its safety.

“Numerous class actions are currently under way in the United States and other countries representing people who have had their health severely impacted due to close proximity to 5G and wireless facilities,” the letter read.

“No studies or tests have proven long-term, continuous exposure to the electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) emitted from these structures are safe, while many scientists warn of potential serious health effects.”

The letter refers to a lawsuit lodged against the United States’ Federal Communications Commission by an organisation run by Robert F Kennedy Jnr, which claims 5G safe exposure limits are based on assumptions that are nearly 25 years old and ignore more recent medical evidence.

Optus said they were “reviewing community concerns about the traffic safety and assessing the alternative location suggested”.

It’s also extended the consultation process until November 20. 

by STEVE GRANT

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