Station gets tower, antennas

2016-03-08 06:00

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) wants to build a communication tower at its Wittebome train station in Wynberg.

Its application was sent for approval by the local subcouncil despite objections received through a public participation process.

Councillors decided to conduct a site visit before anything is concluded.

Prasa’s base telecommunications station will be an upgrade to the current signalling system used for controlling trains.

It will be a free-standing base station of about 25m high. The base station will comprise 12 antennae mounted on top of the pole, microwave dishes and four equipment containers. There will be a 2.4m palisade fencing enclosing it.

Prasa says with technology advancing and time passing, the current system is in need of upgrading to ensure that future expansion is catered for, but residents of the area aren’t so welcoming.

They allege the installation will be a health risk. They signed a petition – with 434 signatures – but it was not accepted as it did not comply with national regulations.

Most objections stated the exposure to radio frequency emissions from the station would be hazardous to the surrounding residents and the 30 children who attend a nursery school close by. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence of a health risk associated with telecommunication base stations. Objections further stated the 25m base would be an eyesore.

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