Cell mast back on the table

2017-04-04 15:38

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After celebrating victory against the erection of a communications mast at their train station, Heathfield residents have to go back to the drawing board as Prasa has appealed the decision.

Last year, residents were happy after a plan to put up a mast on erf 115400 failed (“No mast for station”, People’s Post, 6 December 2016).

The base station would comprise nine user antennae and Prasa communications antennae mounted on a 21m-high pole. Residents strongly disagreed with the idea of having a mast there.

Officials of the City of Cape Town said at the time the application was withdrawn due to a “no go” decision by the City council.

Kay Wentzel, a resident who has been the driving force behind the local resistance to the mast application, says the applicant has turned the tables on them.

“We are busy with the third objection, but it’s not going well as they have changed the application. They went straight to the tribunal, making it a little difficult for us on how we are going to put together the objections,” she says.

“Now anyone who has to object has to do so by email and those who want an oral objection must apply for it. We just don’t know how we are going to do it, but we are hopeful. The same drive I heard then is still on. We will see how to do things. Some people who are supposed to be getting notices are only getting them now for something that has to be concluded by the beginning of April,” says Wentzel.

She says the whole process is making her angry.

“Why are they doing this? The application was withdrawn and it was stated that the land where they wanted to put the mast was viable for housing. They are overriding the decision and going on with the mast. We won’t allow this as we are the people who have to sit with the mast on our doorsteps.”

Muna Lakhani, branch coordinator of Earthlife Africa Cape Town, says his organisation is aware of the new application.

“This simply confirms that the City council has no desire or intention to heed the voices of ordinary people, but to see to the needs of their corporate partners.

“The recent changes in the application, objection and appeal process confirm this, as the process is less transparent, more difficult to engage with and in all likelihood, easier for approvals.

This will still be resisted, and appealed at the tribunal and beyond,” he says.

Ward councillor Carol Bew says she will comment once the application has reached her through the tribunal.

Wentzel is calling on residents to add their voices to her fight.

“Let’s stand together as a community and say no to cell masts in our area; for our health and for our generations to come,” she says.

The closing date for objections is Monday 10 April.

For more information contact Kay Wentzel on 082 867 1964 or kay.wentzel006@gmail.com.

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