Have your say in cell mast application

The property where the proposed cell mast will be erected.

There are plans to build an 11.2 metre high cell mast and base station on the corner of Kommetjie Road and First Avenue, in Fish Hoek, and the public have until Tuesday November 12 to comment or object.

The land-use application was filed by Warren Petterson Planning on behalf of Atlas Towers, an independent global wireless infrastructure company.

The business on which the rooftop base station is to be erected is zoned as General Business 1 (GB1) which allows for rooftop base telecommunication stations.

However, the maximum height of such a structure, according to the Cape Town Municipal Planning By-Law of 2015 is 3 metres and the application seeks approval from the City to exceed the permitted height to 11.2 metres.

According to the application, the telecommunication station
will consist of a 11.2m-high lattice mast on the rooftop of the building, three 3-sector antennas attached to the mast, three equipment containers and a 2.4m-high palisade fence. The entire installation will cover 13.121m2 of the property.

The application says most of
the surrounding land uses are residential with a few business properties.

An environmental authorisation is not required as the property is situated within an urban area.

Dirko Loots, from Warren Petterson Planning, said the tower would improve network coverage, health and safety (by providing better access to emergency services) and economic efficiency (due to fast and reliable internet).

However, Derek Main, from the National Alliance Against Cell Masts (NAACM), told the Echo’s sister paper, Tabletalk, last year, they strongly opposed cell masts near homes, schools and old-age homes.

The NAACM is a group of concerned citizens from around South Africa who are alarmed at what they say is the uncontrolled rolling out of cellular infrastructure for technology before their effects have been fully tested,

The Avenue Retirement Hotel is based in First Avenue.

According to Mr Main, the full impact of cell masts on human health and the environment is being kept from the public.

”Cellular companies are fully aware that their technology carries substantial risks to health, but they suppress this knowledge for financial gain,” he said.

World-wide, concern is growing about the effects of electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation on humans and the environment.

EMF limits, Mr Main said, were set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in 1998 and had not been revised since.

The electromagnetic frequency of these emissions had gone
from 300MHz (the same as your radio or television set) to 2.4GHz (the same as your microwave oven). Mr Main said regulations had not kept up with increased, long-term exposure at higher frequencies.

Growing numbers of people were reporting symptoms of Electromagnetic Frequency Intolerance Syndrome (EMFIS), otherwise known as microwave sickness. Symptoms include headaches, muscle pain, tinnitus, depression, anxiety, brain fog, loss of memory, neurological disturbances and skin rashes.

In some cases, the symptoms were debilitating, said Mr Main.

The Fish Hoek Valley Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (FHVRRA) said there were already several masts in Fish Hoek and it questioned why service providers couldn’t share those masts.

It said lattice masts were ugly and there were certain health risks associated with them.

The association suggested that the City should own all masts and rent space to service providers.

The Echo visited some of the businesses next to the property in Kommetjie Road on Friday October 18. Most were unaware of the application, despite a notice from the City pasted on the premises’ wall. Some said they were opposed to another mast while others said they were not.

ChristopherLintmaar,an employee of the Gas Shop, said he was not opposed to a rooftop base station as it could lead to a paperless society and meant better communication between businesses and clients.

“It can be used by local internet service providers to strengthen coverage zones,” he said.

For more information about NAACM, visit its website at www.naacm.co.za

* Send your comments or objections to comments_objections.southern@capetown.gov.za by Tuesday November 12. Include your name, address and quote case ID: 70445605, Erf 10336, Fish Hoek.