Masts need a plan

2017-01-31 06:01

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Fish Hoek ratepayers have called for a workshop on telecommunication masts, following the application for a mast to be erected at the Fish Hoek train station.

The Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers and Residents’ Association has objected to an application by Prasa for a 25m-high mast at the station. “We are highly concerned that this application is being made for an area which is immediately adjacent the coastline which is a prime recreational area. This mast will be an ugly landmark,” says association chairperson Allen Rose-Innes.

The organisation says communication with Prasa in May 2015, including an email sent to local councillor Simon Liell-Cock, indicated that a 15m high mast would be ­erected.

“In their communication they undertook to install masts at absolute minimum height to achieve the required quality of service,” he says.

“We therefore need an explanation as to why a 25m mast is being proposed when elsewhere much lower masts have been used.”

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says Prasa is deploying a system for cab radio communication, which will be used for “future in-cab signalling”. She confirms that a 12m mast, painted grey, is already installed.

Prasa had not commented at the time of going to print.

Subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase says it is important to have an efficient public transport system in the Far South.

“The train service needs to operate effectively and efficiently. It can’t run like this if there is constant theft of cables. The technical solution is cellular communication. Various sites have been identified for the erection of masts that have the least visual impact,” she says.

The association has now proposed a workshop be held with telecommunication companies to determine the future needs for base stations in the valley and to draw up a “coordinated telecommunication plan” with height restrictions.

The City of Cape Town will consider this request for a workshop favourably, says Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development.

“Ward councillors, the Fish Hoek ratepayers’ association, the applicant (who has submitted this application as well as others in the area) and the relevant officials could use such a workshop to discuss the future need and location of base telecommunication stations in the Fish Hoek/ Noordhoek valley area, among others,” he says.

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