Optus phone tower approved for Vectis

OPTUS will build a new phone tower at Vectis after Horsham Rural City Council approved the telecommunication company’s planning permit.

Optus proposed to build the tower at 384 Wimmera Highway, Vectis.

Council had previously deferred the planning permit, requesting more information from Optus about whether the tower location could change.

It came after a nearby landowner objected to the tower, believing it would have a severe detrimental visual effect on their land.

The tower will be 35-metres high and include three panel antennas and 15 remote radio units.

Council approved the permit at a meeting on Monday night.

Cr David Grimble said while he was not fully convinced that Optus had answered council’s question about the tower’s location, council had no valid reason to oppose it.

“We have given respect to the objector and followed the process through,” he said.

Cr Grimble said while the tower could effect the view of Mt Arapiles, it wasn’t enough to deny the application. 

“I don’t think the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will see that as a reason to refuse the application – this is critical infrastructure,” he said.

Council planning and economic director Angela Murphy said Optus looked at five sites for the tower and this was the proposed site.

However, Cr John Robinson believed council should not approve the tower.

“There is an opportunity to put this tower on the same site as a Department of Land, Water and Planning tower,” he said.

“I don’t think we can approve this until more inquiries are made.

“At the end of the day, this tower will sit squarely in the view of Mt Arapiles.”

“I can’t see how making a decision on flawed process.creates a good outcome.”

Cr Robinson said the tower could also effect emergency services.

“During Black Saturday, there were nine helicopters flying around in that area, do we really need something else for them to fly around,” he said.

Cr Mark Radford said council had been crying out for better mobile coverage.

“It’s important to the community and we need to keep lobbying for improved communications,” he said.