Towering ‘threat’ to green wedge

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THE owners of an art gallery say a telecommunications tower planned to be built within the Mornington Peninsula’s green wedge-zone will be a blot on the landscape.

Emily and Susan McCulloch say they received a “notification letter” about the planned tower in May “seven months after the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council had received the planning application”.

The shire’s principal planner Hugh Pierce said on Friday the tower came under the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program “which exempts such a facility from both formal notification … and removes the ability for any potential objector to appeal council’s decision to VCAT”.

“At this time council officers are still completing this assessment of the proposal and have not yet reached a final position,” he said.

The sisters’ property Whistlewood, in Tucks Road, Shoreham includes a 1870s Tuck-built house.

They warn that if given the go ahead, the tower could “set a precedent for such structures to be built on private land in all other similar locations throughout the peninsula’s green wedge zone”.

They also hold fears that the tower could be used for the incoming 5G network 5G network, “about which little is known and which is attracting worldwide concern regarding impacts on health, wildlife and other issues”.

The McCullochs say the 31.3 metre telecommunications tower in Tucks Road would “dominate [Whistelwood’s] eastern skyline and be highly visible from every gallery and living room, upstairs and down, the studio and over virtually our entire acreage”.

“[The] outlook and environs are not just a view, but are integral to our purpose of being what has grown over almost 70 years and three generations of the McCulloch family – to support, foster and display art of the land, including Aboriginal, environmental and landscape art and invite artists to its environs in which to make art.”

In an email encouraging opposition to the tower planned by Telstra through its contractor Visionstream, the McCullochs say there has been no “proper community consultation”.

They say the tower would be in cluster of five or six rural properties, about 30 metres from the house of its nearest neighbour and 40 metres from Whistlewood’s boundary and 80 metres from the house.

“As the tower would sit on a prominent ridge line on Tucks Road it would compromise the tranquillity of this rural and historic road.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 9 July 2019

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