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Fortysouth succeeds on fourth attempt.

By Wendy Pond.

Fortysouth erected a 5G-capable cell tower in Coromandel Town on Friday 23 June after three attempts in May had been interrupted by residents who occupied the site in Pagitt Street. Earlier in the week contractors from Downer arrived with heavy machinery, security guards, police and paddy wagon, and with military precision had a steel fence in place ahead of any action by the public. By the end of the day, the holes for the tower and the equipment cabinet had been dug. Over the next few days, the concrete was poured and the cable carrying electricity and telecommunications for the tower was laid. The 15-metre mast was seen being transported at its full length along the Thames Coast Road on Thursday, and on Friday it was installed. It began transmitting immediately. The tower will broadcast over a two-mile radius extending from Driving Creek in the north to the centre of town where its radius will converge with coverage from a tower on Preece’s Point. Most of Coromandel’s residential area will have access to 5G from these two towers. Pagitt Street is a down-market area of Coromandel town with no recent council work. The road reserve is the standard Queen’s chain width of 20 metres, but there is no footpath and for some distance, the sealed area of road is only sufficient for one-way traffic. The road borders a small park with a school bus stop. A ditch frequently sprayed with glyphosate holds the town water supply pipe. Pipes carrying storm water and sewerage also run through the park. The residents are largely working families. On working days, vehicle movement in the street begins around 5.00 am. No one in this area has a need for 5G. Cell towers cannot be built in Open Space areas, but Council rules allow use of road verges. Pagitt Street runs along the park’s edge, so in effect the tower is in open space and less than 50 metres from surrounding homes. Some residents feel dismayed. “Who would take their children to the park with a tower standing in the road where a footpath should be, pulsing a harmful electro-magnetic field over the area?” Since 2006, international research scientists have been advising governments that they are observing effects on human health from long term exposure to the electro-magnetic radiation emitted by cell towers. German researchers found that the first 400 metres from a cell tower are unsafe. They recorded a three-fold increase in cancer diagnosis after six years, and they noted that people near cell towers begin getting cancer earlier in life. However, New Zealand government standards, and industry sources reassuring the public, are not using long-term studies. Vodafone has told the Community Board it doesn’t have to consult because Council has classed cell towers as a permitted activity. But residents in Pagitt and Edward streets feel trapped. “Harm is being forced on our families. We haven’t been given any place in the process to have our say. We feel disempowered.” According to the Resource Management Act, under s76, an activity can only be permitted after harmful effects have been avoided, remedied, mitigated. “The problem is, Council is denying the science. But Council can’t deny the drop in property valuations when a tower stands outside a home or deny the emotional distress of parents who are already coping with illness,” a close resident said. “Council has taken away our ability to protect ourselves from a technology that is harming us.”

Nowhere in the District Plan is 5G mentioned. Cell towers are classed as a permitted activity under a new section added to the District Plan Appeals Version 2021. Section 37A.2, Rule 5 permits construction of cell towers. Section 37A.1 has a note attached which requires frequency fields to comply with NZS 2772.1:1999. The NZ standard is defined under the Resource Management (National Environmental Standards for Telecommunications Facilities) Regulations 2016, s55(6) which permits exposure levels from 3kHz to 300 GHz. This range includes 5G. For the everyday person, Section 37A is a Trojan horse. NOTE: Scientists have formed two international groups reporting on current research. See <> and <> . The 5G summit 2020 was recorded live and can be followed at <>.

Caption: Police officers and security guards lined up along the steel fencing, guarding the construction site. A flag of people’s resistance is still flying.


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