No mast for station

2016-12-06 06:01

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Heathfield residents are dancing to the tune of victory after an application to put up a cell mast at Heathfield station was turned down by the City of Cape Town.

Prasa was too late to appeal the rejection of its proposed mast on erf 115400. Though in official documents the City states the proposal did not go ahead due to a “no go” decision by the council, Muna Lakhani, branch coordinator of Earthlife Africa Cape Town, thinks it also had to do with the strong opposition from the local community.

One determined resident, Kay Wentzel, worked with Lakhani and another resident, Helen Hoekstra, to make sure that not another mast goes up in their area.

“When I saw the application to have a mast close to us my inside was shaking. It troubled me so much. I knew I had to do something, because allowing a mast here was going to affect our health and the environment,” says Wentzel.

“I put up a petition and went door to door to let people sign to oppose it.”

Wentzel says it was no walk in the park. “The criticism and discouragement I got from people was bad. Others told me other people had tried it and they had failed so I would never succeed. Others told me I was crazy because those were big boys that I was fighting. This was not a victory for me but for my community and other communities as well that are challenging this.”

Lakhani says they are happy with the outcome. “We put in so many hours. The work we did include informing and mobilising the local community, doing research, writing to the council and the media, attending subcouncil meetings and addressing them and keeping up the pressure on the proponent.”

He says there is a need for change to the policy locally and nationally.

“While the policy of the City mentions these issues, there are no standards for location, co-location of masts or the adequate informing and participation of interested and affected parties. The truth is, the technology is evolving so fast, with no plan in place to manage the impacts.”

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