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Man takes on council over tower
New Zealand Created: 4 Aug 2009
A Timaru man unhappy about a cellphone tower being installed near his home is taking the Timaru District Council to the Environment Court.
At a hearing in August, Bruce Spiers will ask the court to rule that the district council incorrectly interpreted its own district plan when it allowed a cellphone tower to be installed in a residential area.

A 10-metre pole and equipment cabinet was installed on the grass median of Craigie Avenue early last year without public consultation.
Mr Spiers can see the tower from his kitchen window. He approached the council at the time it was installed but with no success.
He is now asking the Environment Court for a declaration relating to cellphone sites in all of the Timaru District's residential zones.
He believes the council misinterpreted its district plan when it gave consent for the Vodafone tower in Craigie Avenue.
While his interest was solely in the Craigie Avenue tower, any declaration would apply to all residential areas within the district. Mr Spiers did not know how many towers there were in such zones.

If the Environment Court found in his favour, he was uncertain of the impact it would have on the council, but considered it would be up to the ratepayers if they wanted it enforced in specific cases.
He did not expect the court decision to have an impact in other parts of the country as district plans were unique to the individual councils.
Mr Spiers decided to take the council to the Environment Court as the $55 filing fee was more affordable than the $20,000 judicial review of the council's cell tower approval.

The siting of the tower was not notified as the council considered it a discretionary activity for the zone under the district plan, district planner Peter Kloosterman said yesterday.
The Craigie Avenue tower was on the road reserve within the residential zone.

The Timaru District Plan was notified in 1995 and has been operational since 2005. Mr Kloosterman said it was the first time a resident had taken such action over cellphone sites.
All towers had to meet the National Environmental Standards.
Vodafone New Zealand has objected to the declaration.
Residents on and near Craigie Avenue claimed they were kept in the dark when the tower was being installed.

The potential effects of electromagnetic energy emission levels were a point of contention.
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Source: Martin Weatherall W.E.E.P

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