Monday, March 21, 2016

Residents reject uMgeni Park cell tower

Residents reject uMgeni Park cell tower

Garry Smith inspects a community map as well as the propsal for the planned tower with Joe, Faatima and Adam Campanini.
Garry Smith inspects a community map as well as the propsal for the planned tower with Joe, Faatima and Adam Campanini.

ANOTHER proposed MTN cell phone tower has earned the ire of local communities. This time uMgeni Park residents have not only raised health concerns, but have also claimed that the cell phone giant and the company hired to construct the tower, Illanga Technologies, have used underhanded methods to secure the project.
The recent tower, proposed for Abergeni Crescent, is set to be 25 metres tall and will encompass an eight by eight-metre hub, containing cooling equipment and power generators.
“This equipment will be making a constant humming noise, and when the power goes off and the generators kick in it will turn into a terrible racket. We don’t want to live near that,” said one of the residents, Garry Smith.
Joe Campanini, whose property lies next to the one appointed for the tower, added that his four-year-old son’s bedroom would be 12 metres away from the proposed tower.
“It is unacceptable that he should be exposed to that constant noise, let alone being bombarded with the concentrated radio frequency (RF) signals 24/7,” said his wife Faatima.
“Unlike cell phones, which are an individual choice to have, this mast is not something that we chose. It is being placed here by MTN. We have heard that there is no conclusive proof to the health implications, but do we have to wait until someone dies?” said Smith.
“Just with it being erected next to my property my home and every other home is set to devalue by 35 to 50 per cent,” said Joe
“Nobody wants these towers here. We have enough towers in the area and this tower is dividing our community,” added Faatima.
She said the homeowner, whose property was selected to host the tower, was never informed by Illanga Technologies of the ‘possible risks’.
Residents have been urged to e-mail their objections through before 14 March.

MTN responds
Paul Buttery, senior regional manager, for MTN denied allegations that Ilanga Technologies failed to disclose the ‘potential risks’ associated with the tower.
“Ilanga Technologies did verbally explain to the landlord on numerous occasions that there is no proven health risk caused by erecting a tower on her property. Ilanga Technologies suggested the use of a tree mast as it can be aesthetically pleasing and enhance the value of her property. At the time the landlord did not show any concerns for any health or safety risks,” he said.

Last year the residents of Umhlanga Manors emerged victorious in their battle against the application to install an MTN cell mast. However, Durban North and Redhill residents are now objecting to the errection of towers in their communities.

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