No to cell mast at home

An artists impresson of what the cell mast would look like if it goes up in Buitengracht Drive.

Richwood residents are opposed to a cell mast planned to go up on a resident’s property.

The Richwood Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (RRRA) plans to object to a cell mast planned for 9 Buitengracht Drive.

On Thursday April 4, Warren Petterson Town and Planning Consultants applied on behalf of Cell C to have the mast put up at the house.

The application calls for a portion of the property to be rezoned from residential to “spot rezoning” to allow the mast to be built. People have until Monday May 20 to comment.

Chairman of the RRRA, Dave Smith, said they would not have seen the advertisement had it not been for a “vigilant” neighbourhood watch patroller.

“If it was not for the patroller who spotted it while driving past, we would not have known about it,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith, who also lives in Buitengracht Drive, is working on an objection to the mast on behalf of the RRRA.

He has gathered in a large file, among other things, previous cases where people have been successful in keeping cell masts out of their area.

According to the application the cell mast will be “beneficial” for Richwood as there will be an improvement in network coverage. “In its end, this will enhance the level of health and safety” reads the application.

But Mr Smith says the jury is still out on how safe cell masts are in residential areas.

“I don’t care whether they camouflage it as a tree or as a condom. It’s still going to emit radiation. The only motivation is money. If he (the owner) rents the plot to Cell C, he’ll be set up for life,” he said.

The owner of 9 Buitengracht Drive, Conrad van Zyl, declined to comment.

Helena Willemse has lived at the house next door for over 30 years and says she got her registered slip over the Easter weekend, notifying her about the application for the mast.

“I think it’s ridiculous. You can’t put it between people. What will the impact be on our property value?” said Ms Willemse.

Kim Baker lives two doors down from the proposed site and says she is a hundred percent against the mast. She had no idea of the plans and rummaged through her mail to check for a slip for registered mail when Tabletalk asked her for comment. She found the slip which had been sent last month.

“I’m not for this at all. The radiation will be harmful for my kids and pet,” said Ms Baker.

Rudi Hesser lives directly behind 9 Buitengracht Drive in Welgelegen Street and says he did not know about plans for the mast. “I don’t want to sit in my backyard and look up at a cell tower,” he said.

Another resident, Nadene Cassells, said she had read “conflicting information” about cell masts in residential areas.

“I am concerned that the tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems. They cannot fully guarentee us that there are no potential health risks, so I would prefer if the tower wasn’t so close.

“My brother, his fiancée and three-month old son stay in this street. What danger does it pose to their baby over a long period of time?” said Ms Cassells.

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the application was being advertised, as well as circulated to all relevant internal departments, including the City’s health department.

“The City’s development management department will only be in a position to evaluate the application after the advertising closing date, whereby all relevant comments and inputs received on the application will be taken into consideration,” she said.

She could not say when the application would be brought up in sub-council.

“Should we receive any objections, the application will be referred to the Municipal Planning Tribunal for a decision,” she said.