Residents haven't given up fight over tower
RESIDENTS of Lynwood haven't given up the fight to stop construction of a telecommunications tower in Dees Ln, continuing the argument of concerns about air safety.
Organised as the Keep Ballina Byron Airport Safe group, residents have handed over a petition to Ballina Shire Council of 1200 signatures opposing the tower.
The structure, proposed for the Lynwood site 11km from Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, would extend into the western take-off and approach space for the airport by 14.3m.
Council only approved the tower in May on the proviso that another party, preferably the NBN Co, takes on liability for any incidents that may result from the positioning of the tower.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority advised the council the planned tower would be a hazard, but it could be approved as long as it and the associated buildings were painted red and white, and flashing red lights were installed at the highest point.
Ballina solicitor Peter Carmont Snr, representing the Lynwood residents, said that indemnity for the tower hadn't been finalised, leaving the project in limbo and providing an opportunity for the council decision to be overturned.
He argued it would have to be the Federal Government and not NBN Co that would have to take over the liability for the tower.
"If safety is not an issue requiring significant consideration by Ballina council, why has the Federal Government just spent $ 13.5 million building a fire station employing 17 officers at Ballina airport?" he asked.
At the May council meeting, councillor Keith Johnson argued the presence of the tower and flashing light in the Obstacle Limitation Surface for the airport would improve safety.
However, councillor Jeff Johnson said the presence of the tower would not be good for the airport moving forward, particularly as council has paid out $100,000 for a report on the possibility of leasing the airport. He called for an independent study into alternative locations.