Bair Street blight
A 40 metre tall tower will stand at the end of Leongatha’s Bair Street before the end of November.
The news has come as a disappointing surprise to residents and business owners in the town.
The tower will be an SP AusNet Smart Meter tower and, because it is classed as vital infrastructure, was exempt from requiring council planning permission.
The monopole tower will be erected in a vacant lot on the corner of Holt and Bair streets across the road from a children’s playground.
It will be clearly seen at the end of Bair Street and when travelling either direction through Leongatha on the South Gippsland Highway.
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce president Darryl McGannon was disappointed when The Star told him about the tower.
“If the decision has been made I suppose there’s not a whole lot you can do about it,” he said.
“From the chamber’s point of view, it’s going to be a bit of an eyesore.
“If it’s a done and dusted deal you can jump up in arms, but at the end of the day it won’t make any difference.”
Leongatha business owners had previously fought against an Optus telecommunications tower in Bair Street.
That proposed project has since been put on hold and does not look like proceeding.
Leongatha resident Jim Williams, a strong campaigner against an Optus tower, said he was frustrated.
“Seems to be the way the world is going,” he said.
“Things appear out of nowhere.”
A spokesperson from SP AusNet told The Star the location was the most effective.
“The location was chosen as it has the best coverage, therefore eliminating the need for multiple poles,” they said.
SP AusNet also said the community had been informed.
“We consulted with the council and sent letters outlining the project to the surrounding neighbourhood,” the spokesperson said.
Neighbours of the site received a letter on Monday to informing them the tower was to be installed the next morning.
South Gippsland Shire Council’s director of development services Phil Stone said council was told.
“We were informed early on that there was going to be a rollout of these Smart Meter towers around South Gippsland and they’re exempt from requiring planning permission,” he said.
“We have told SP AusNet to communicate with the community and tell them what they are doing.”
This technology will allow SP AusNet to remotely monitor energy usage and develop ways to lower household electricity bills.
Short URL: /?p=5317