Disagreement over the best site for cell tower

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A proposed cellphone tower is casting a long shadow for some in the Hawea community.
Spark is seeking resource consent for a 15m high telecommunications mast next to Peter Fraser Park at 79 Capell Ave.
This would be much higher than the council’s current permitted height of 10.5m. A report by council planner Tim Anderson recommended the resource consent should go ahead.
Hawea Community Association chairwoman April Mackenzie said permitting the mast ‘‘just seems bizarre’’.
The height of the tower would mean it would obstruct views to the mountains surrounding Hawea including Mt Maude, Grandview Mountain and Breast Peak. The position next to Peter Fraser Park would affect views from the Lake Hawea Community Centre, which was often used for weddings and other functions, Ms Mackenzie said.
‘‘We think it impacts the whole community’’.
The community tried to suggest to Spark other locations so it would not be outside the park and community centre, Ms Mackenzie said.
‘‘But they just said, ‘No, it’s going there. That is the best spot’.’’
About 20 submissions were received opposing the tower, some residents providing photos from their home showing how the mast would affect their view.
One factor Mr Anderson mentioned in his recommendation to permit construction of the tower was existing power poles and power lines also affected the view. But Ms Mackenzie said the community was committed to having power infrastructure moved underground.
‘‘We acknowledge the power lines, but we’ve got a meeting with Aurora Energy to start scoping the project.’’
It might be a 10 or 15-year project to get power lines moved underground, but the community was focused on enhancing the environment for the long term, Ms Mackenzie said.
‘‘It is going to take us a while, we get that, but you don’t add [visual] pollution when the community is trying to take away pollution.’’

Tall order . . . Hawea Community Association chairwoman April Mackenzie says a 15m high telecommunications mast would obstruct views. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON

Spark corporate relations partner Cassie Arauzo said the Lake Hawea area had seen an ‘‘unprecedented increase in data usage’’ of nearly 500% in the last two years.
Spark had only one cell site in Lake Hawea which was reaching capacity levels, she said.
‘ The decision for
the site to be located on Capell Ave was made after 6 months of extensive review from a range of
experts. ,
All the sites suggested by the Hawea Community Association sat outside the area where users required coverage and was therefore not fit for purpose.
This left Spark with two viable options — asite located in Lake View Tce and the 15m ‘‘light pole swap out solution’’ on Capell Ave, she said.
They decided the Lake View Tce site was not suitable because it had no existing infrastructure and a new pole would be directly in the foreground views of adjacent residential dwellings.
‘‘The decision for the site to be located on Capell Ave was made after six months of extensive review from a range of experts,’’ she said.
A Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman said there were two existing 15m towers in the region, one on Brownston St in Wanaka and one on Alison Ave in Albert Town.
There was a 15.1m tower in Broadview Rise in Queenstown, and a 16.3m mast and antenna on Durham St in Arrowtown.
A 21.5m mast and antenna had additionally been installed on Camp St in Queenstown.
If resource consent was granted, it would be in perpetuity unless there was a condition that specified a duration, he said.