Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Approval for Hanover cell tower revoked

Published:Wednesday | May 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Cell tower

WESTERN BUREAU:

With public pressure mounting, the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) has rescinded the approval that was granted for the construction of a cell tower on the grounds of Collective Solutions, the former Jockey Factory, in Sandy Bay, Hanover.

At last week's meeting of the HMC's Physical Planning and Environment Committee, Mayor Sheridan Samuels, who heads the corporation, said that following a meeting with representatives of telecommunications company Digicel, with regard to the concerns being raised by members of the Sandy Bay community, the corporation has decided to withdraw the approval, which was secured in the March monthly meeting of the corporation.

Samuels stated that he misunderstood the need for the cell tower in the area, and that he had supported the approval because he thought it was a necessity for the establishment of the business process outsourcing operation in the area.

"Following the meeting with representatives from Digicel, I now have a clearer understanding of the matter, as the intended cell tower is just to give Digicel better coverage of the area," said Samuels.

It was reported in the corporation's March monthly meeting that Digicel had done what is known as a Green Light Survey, which saw some 100 persons from the area being interviewed about whether they had any objection to the establishment of the cell site. The report stated that the vast majority of the 100 persons had no objections.

 

Never contacted about the matter

 

However, according to Samuels, when the corporation did its own checks, many persons living in proximity to the proposed site said they were never contacted about the matter.

"The CEO of the HMC, who is living within that community, told us at the meeting with the representatives of Digicel that he is one of the persons living close to the proposed site, and nobody has contacted him to ask any questions," said Samuels. "He even identified some persons on the list of persons interviewed as not living within the community."

The two closest communities to the proposed site are Tryall Gardens Housing Scheme and Sandy Bay proper, where the Sandy Bay Primary School, Health Centre and Police Station are all located.

"What we have asked them to do is to go out now and do another survey to capture every single person that are in proximity to where the site is proposed to be placed," said Samuels. "As it stands now, no approval has been given for the construction of that cell tower, and we told them that when they are finished with the survey, we are going to double-check those results to make sure that it is truly reflecting what the people from the community are actually saying."

Internationally, there have been objections to the establishment of cell towers in proximity to where people congregate, as the radiation levels generated by these facilities are said to be injurious to health.