Residents against cellphone tower

A PROPOSED cellphone tower installation on the premises of the Haythorne Secondary School in Woodlands has been met with strong opposition from residents, resulting in the plans being put on hold.

Members of the community have banded together to raise awareness on issues they have with the proposed cellphone tower, namely that they believe their health will be at risk, due to radiation, should the tower be erected, while others have stated that the tower will cause their property value to take a significant dip.

One of the residents opposing the cellphone tower, who wished to be known as Rachel, said that previous attempts to install a cellphone tower in the area have been met with successful opposition and that this time they were hoping for the same end.

“They have not consulted us properly and therefore cannot erect a 35-metre [high] structure on school premises without going through the proper process,” said Rachel.

While residents seem to be frustrated at the thought of the tower, chairperson of the Haythorne Secondary School SGB Godwin Okafor mentioned that the cellphone tower could be beneficial to the school.

“The school could stand to benefit from the tower. Pupils will receive uninterrupted internet access in the computer room and the network has maintained that they will also contribute to the school’s electricity bill,” said Okafor.

A meeting was held last week Monday where the principal of the school opted to halt the erection of the tower in order to allow for sufficient time for residents to discuss the matter.

“In the meeting, the principal agreed that the plans be stopped until further discussions on the matter can take place,” said ward councillor Shawn Adkins.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha responded to queries from residents, stating that, according to the Environmental Management Framework (EMF), no environmentally sensitive areas were triggered on the specific site and therefore it did not need to undergo a Basic Assessment Report (BAR) which includes public participation.

“In reference to health risks posed by the proposed tower, opinions regarding this vary throughout the medical field on whether constant exposure to energy can actually be linked to higher rates of cancer,” said Mafumbatha.