Mobile gap splits Morley on tower

MOBILE reception is so bad around Crimea Reserve that one resident’s been told to get a satellite phone, while others are begging for a telecommunications tower.

It’s rare for residents to campaign in favour of a new phone tower going up at a public park; it’s usually an issue that unites them in opposition.

But the mood in Morley’s split on the 30.8m tower that comms company Amplitel says will fix a Telstra coverage gap. 

Forty four submissions have been lodged against it, and 13 people have asked Bayswater council to approve the proposal, plus another 68 signatures in favour in an online petition. 

Those opposed say the tower should be in an industrial area away from parks and homes.

“It is not a suitable location for a mobile phone base station which will ruin a community hub,” one submission said.

Morley resident Leon McGrath is urging the council to approve the tower to fix his phone troubles.

In a deputation to the April meeting he wrote that at his McArthur Street home 600m away: “The mobile coverage available from all mobile network service providers is extremely poor.”

He has almost no mobile signal either inside or outside his house, and calls either don’t get through or they drop out. Texts are delayed until they can randomly eke through on a whiff of signal. 

He recently lodged a complaint with Telstra about the mobile coverage, and said: “In response, Telstra’s proposed solution was that I obtain a satellite telephone service, despite being less than 10km from the Perth CBD”. 

Telstra’s official coverage map claims to deliver blanket coverage to the city, with reception not supposed to drop out until you hit Jarrahdale state forest.

Another resident who signed the petition said: “There is literally no reception on the streets surrounding the park. 

I worry for the residents in an emergency situation as calls in/out drop out mid-call constantly.”

Another petitioner wrote: “My house has many black spots. Either the phone doesn’t ring, or I have to move from room to room to find where I can converse.” 

One signatory struggled to work from home due to the lack of a phone signal.

Council staff recommended councillors reject the tower at the April 26 meeting, saying it’s not in line with the City’s phone tower policy because it’ll be “located where it will be prominently visible from the Crimea Reserve recreation site” and would be undermine the “recreational value and function of the reserve”.

The staff report says the City is “acutely aware” of the poor coverage in parts of Morley, and they’re prepared to consider an application for a tower at an alternative site where it can be co-located with existing phone towers. 

Amplitel has stated that won’t work: “There are no other co-location solutions in the area that can achieve Telstra’s coverage area target”.

Council was due to vote just after the Voice went to print.

Previously the council tried to reject a phone tower at Crimea Reserve in 2016, but the decision was overturned by the State Administrative Tribunal. 


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