Cellphone Tower Free Skyline

$2,142 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 53 months
Approximately two years ago Vodafone proposed a cellphone tower on a coastal ridgeline in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Golden Bay, New Zealand situated next to the Abel Tasman National Park with world class views. The proposed site  was recommended to be preserved as an outstanding natural landscape and is home to  two health and sustainable living retreats, numerous nature trails, wildlife and endangered birds. 

In a world of over development, our aim is to preserve this rare natural landscape for people to have a space to retreat  away from visual and electro-magnetic pollution and we wish for future generations to still be able to enjoy nature's playground.

In a public submission process 75% of submitters were against this particular site for a tower. Vodafone has chosen to circumvent the public process and have used unethical ways to get their tower approved under a "permitted activity" rule, telling half truths to local council and the public.

Golden Bay Natural and Linked are up against the "BIG" guys...the multi-national companies and the government and we can only preserve this space with your help. 

We need to raise $20,000 for Environment court proceedings against Vodafone on abuse of process and the local council on inaccurate rule interpretation. This case is a precedent for both local and international regulation on cellphone towers and the liberal relations of governments and telco's.

We are an independent Incorporated Society, formed to protect, conserve and manage our environment . We can only proceed with this campaign by raising funds to pay for our environmental attorney and legal expenses.

All donations from anywhere in the world are automaticly made in $AU because of the websites settings.

We will express our gratitude to the the highest donator with a free week stay at the Anahata Yoga Retreat  where you can enjoy the yogic lifestyle and connect with this beautiful and hopefuly EMF free zone!
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Below is an update on yesterday's post referring to the NZ government releasing a proposal to relax the rules on telecommunication facilities nationally. The government is recommending that rural cell phone sites up to 30m high and 12m diameter, be a permitted activity, which means 'no say' for the community it effects.

Some people have asked how they can make a submission. Submissions on the above proposal close THIS Friday, 17 April and Golden Bay Natural and Linked (GBNL) will be presenting a submission arguing the validity of this proposal. You can make a submission online easily at: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/node/20520

For those interested in making a submission before the 17th, here are the key points below. Please email us if you are interested in the full draft.

KEY POINTS that may be included in a person submission.
• -ONLF’s (Outstanding Natural Landscapes) are not identified in TDC (Tasman District Council) Plan; NES stipulates permitted activity not on ONLF’s, so Tasman region ONLF’s unprotected at present if NES (National Environmental Standard) passed.
• - Public vs Private. Public interest (benefit) should not be balanced against private interest (cost) as public will always out trump private. Either allow private interests an avenue to remedy the greater than minor effects through the RMA (Resource Management Act) process of ‘avoid, remedy and mitigate’ OR compensate the cost imposed on private interests, for the wider public interest. National wishes to reduce the public’s ability to settle these costs, but is not willing to address compensation, this is unfair, unlawful and unethical.
• - Property Value. Evident that people do not wish to live next to celltower. Up to 300m from cell site there are property value effects. Around 15% reduction in value. Studies show the more visible the structure, more impact on value. Proposed rural cellsites are not discrete like the urban cellsites.
• - Health concerns. IARC (international Agency for Research on Cancer) of WHO identified EMF from cellular signals as class 2B (possibly carcinogenic). Since New Standard written in 1999, health concerns have risen not decreased. As increasingly more studies highlight the potential effects. More governing bodies around the world have begun tightening rules and considering these effects from ‘non-heating EMF’(Electro Magnetic Field). Currently NZS only addresses ‘heating EMF’ effects with no ‘precautionary principle’ built into it to address the ‘non-heating EMF’ effects. NZS is outdated and not up to speed with latest scientific research and public concern. Property values reflect this.
• - Environmental report used in drawing up proposal used past Council Planning procedures/submissions as indicator of environmental effects. It is a poor indicator of true effects. Most people in public do not get involved in such processes, too complicated, mentally challenging, no time, hard to keep up with actual submission dates (notification etc). Often people do not form opinion on something until confronted with it personally. Often the writing of policy is slanted in industry favor, as they lobby and spend the money to make the changes, public for the most part are less vocal and do not have the financial means/time. Better indicator of potential effects is property values and media article’s, which express public opinion.

Many thanks. All submissions are appreciated.
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There have been a number of developments with the proposed cell tower at Birds Clearing with positive steps forward and more work to do to protect for the future. Apologies for the delayed update, but circumstances have been changing quickly.

In brief, the court hearing did not go ahead. Firstly, Vodafone withdrew from proceedings and although GBNL and Tasman District Council planned to continue with the court hearing, the judge preferred a live application to make a ruling. Secondly, GBNL was denied the funding to cover the lawyer costs for the Environment Court hearing…making the process expensive. Currently there is no application for a tower at Bird's Clearing! Yeah! There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…even if a cell tower free future for Birds Clearing is still up-in-the-air. We will not give up.

There has been an IMPORTANT move by the NZ government that could potentially affect our position with the cell tower. The government has released a proposal to relax the rules on telecommunication facilities nationally. It is recommending that rural cell phone sites up to 30m high and 12m diameter, be a permitted activity, which means 'no say' for the community it effects.

Submissions on the above proposal close THIS Friday, 17 April and GBNL will be presenting a submission arguing the validity of this proposal.

Therefore, we are now taking the next step to protect Birds Clearing. We are in the process of preparing documents to apply for a ‘White Zone’ covenant. The ‘White Zone’ is a relatively new concept designed to maximise the natural safety and organic quality of a designated area. It will minimise the usage and effects of technological infrastructure and machines that cause visual and EMF pollution and protect the natural aspects of a neighbourhood.

As always we truly appreciate all the donations that have been made and will be made in the future.

"Together we can do what we can never do alone"
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Finally, some good news!!!

Vodafone has withdrawn completely from the environment court proceedings and withdrawn its Certificate of Compliance as per an agreement with Golden Bay Natural & Linked that we would not seek costs, if they did the above.

What does it mean? At present, there is no application to build a cell phone tower at Birds Clearing. After 2 years of hard work, this is a very good outcome!

Why did Vodafone withdraw? The case against Vodafone was related to a staged design, where they had misled Tasman District Council into giving them a Code of Compliance. We believe the actual cell phone tower that received the Code of Compliance would not have been operable and that all along Vodafone intended to add on antennas, once the initial tower was up…a method used by telcos to get around the public voice.

Unfortunately it’s not over yet: Vodafone can still re-design a tower and re-apply for a fresh Code of Compliance and potentially get it with current Tasman District Council's 'permitted activity rules' or they could reapply for a resource consent, which may or may not be publicly notified and means we start all over again.

What we are doing: GBNL is continuing to challenge Council’s interpretation of the ‘permitted activity rule’ as part of our original court application. We aim for a more accurate rule interpretation to protect the public’s rights around large cell phone towers. We also hope that a win in court will see Vodafone give up on Bird’s Clearing site long-term.

Funding: We applied for Funding for the legal costs of the court case. Our application was declined as it is seen as a regional issue as compared to national.

We still need to raise another $5000 to cover the lawyer fees for the 23rd March hearing.

PLEASE help us win this! Contribute what you can. Each one of you, who has helped in any way thus far, has helped bring us to this stage and everything makes a difference.

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We are currently experiencing a fair amount of activity around the proposed cell tower at Birds Clearing. Here is a summary of the latest developments:

Ø In December, GBNL submitted an application to the Environment Court in regards to Vodafone’s Certificate of Compliance to build a 25m cell tower at Birds Clearing, granted by Council at the end of October.

Ø An enforcement order was requested for the Vodafone proposal to be stopped while the matter was before the court. Vodafone has subsequently agreed to pospone the building of the tower for 7 months or until the matter is resolved in the court.

Ø The court has set a date for a hearing for Monday, 23rd of March in Nelson.

Ø In January, neighbors and GBNL members met with the landowner of the proposed cell tower site.
We visited the proposed site and surrounding land. We discussed the Bird's Clearing and greater Golden Bay unique eco health community, concerns of visual and health effects, the cancellation of the public process, lack of visual or cultural assessments and the frustration about the effort and financial burden this has caused.

Ø We also considered and looked at alternative options and sites and asked that they be taken seriously to avoid an obsolete dinosaur technology being placed on our coastal paradise.

Ø The land owner agreed to arrange a meeting with Vodafone and key GBNL representatives/close neighbors to discuss the alternative options and sites and seemed genuinely willing to assist us in establishing a win win situation. Vodafone has refused to meet us at present, for the third time.

Thanks to all who have helped in different ways, particularly those who have donated or are still able to donate to help us pay for legal fees which are ongoing.

We are trusting that our voices and concerns will soon be heard and that we will once again be free from the threat of the cellphone tower on our beautiful, peaceful mountain top.

View from Birds Clearing
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Read a Previous Update
Cheng Ooi
14 months ago

Can the organiser of this campaign give us an update of this project? Namaste. Cheng

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$2,142 of $7,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 53 months
Created November 10, 2014
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48 months ago
49 months ago
Nicole Wache
50 months ago

Fingers crossed from Germany. Keep faith in the good.

Chris Lozac'h
50 months ago

Go get 'em, Swami!

Leonie Bartrom
51 months ago

I've done a fair bit of 'opposing' and I wrote to Govt that it's like 'farting against thunder' to oppose these bigger organisations and Govt itself. If you can think of an organisation or Govt dept to approach for funding or assistance of a practical kind you might be pleasantly surprised. Even Vodaph's competitors. Ask the Enviro Court what help can you get - small in size should not obviate your right to justice. Good luck

Cheng Ooi
14 months ago

Can the organiser of this campaign give us an update of this project? Namaste. Cheng

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