Spark changes tack over cell tower position

Te Puna residents, pictured here in June, were quick to reject the proposal for a cell phone tower on this site.

Te Puna residents are breathing a sigh of relief now that plans for a cell phone tower on a quiet residential street have been scrapped.

The 12-metre tower was to have been erected, by Spark, on the corner of Wallace and Matahiwi Rd and that was not popular with neighbours.

Corporate relations partner Arwen Vant says the tower will now be built on a site on Snodgrass Rd but there would also need to be another tower in the area to cope with demand at some stage.

“Another site will be required in the future to accommodate the increase in data usage we expect as the area grows. Spark is working with the community on suggested sites for this additional future infrastructure.

“The Te Puna area has seen unprecedented growth for digital services with community data usage increasing by more than 1000 per cent in the last three years. Mobile and data connectivity is currently being delivered to Te Puna by an existing site that is reaching capacity.”

Jill and Dane Chalmers were facing the prospect of having the tower right outside their house, on the grass verge. Jill said Spark’s change of mind was “a huge relief”.

“It is a problem that is popping up in all sorts of communities and legislation gives them every right to do it.”

The couple were part of a group of residents in the area who opposed the siting of the tower. The issue featured in The Weekend Sun and SunLive in June.

Arwen said they choose their sites based on “providing the best possible coverage to the community”.

“Soon the existing site won’t cope and users will start to experience issues like dropped calls, loss of connectivity to services and coverage issues. This loss of service has the potential to effect day to day accessibility to services, business efficiency and connectivity issues during emergency situations,” Arwen says.

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