The proposed site the Spark cell tower.
Spark NZ has applied for a land use resource consent “to erect and operate a 15m high telecommunication facility, with a maximum width of 0.3m” in Hāwea.
The area would be at the road reserve immediately adjacent to Peter Fraser Park and along the township’s main road, Capell Avenue.
Chair of the Hāwea Community Association April McKenzie said: “Our thoughts are quite strongly held, right across the community. We’ve had a couple of public meetings about it.”
“I think in their application they said that there is a demand for it. Part of the public meeting we had was, not only is the community resoundingly opposed to placing a 15m-high cell tower in that location, it was opposed to placing a tower anywhere in the residential area,” she said.
“We were unanimous about the aesthetic issues. You know, we live in Hāwea with great mountain and lake views, and the tower is going to severely disrupt those views.”
Spark responded by saying, “For some time, the demand for Spark mobile services in Hāwea has been growing. The community’s usage of data has increased by nearly 500 percent and predictions suggest that this figure will only grow in the coming years. This is driven by the number of devices like smartphones, iPads, and connected watches increasing as well as customers who are adopting wireless broadband to stream video content like Netflix and Lightbox in their homes. It has become apparent that new infrastructure is required to satisfy these demands before the only existing Spark cell site there reaches its sensible capacity limits.”
In terms of the placement of the mast: “In the case of Hāwea this work has been going on by a team of planners and Radio Frequency engineers for over six months trying to determine the best possible location for a new cell tower. Additionally, since January this year Spark has worked closely with the Hāwea Community Association around HCA suggested sites, all of which have been assessed, scoped against community user needs and found to be unsuitable.”