THE Federal Government’s National Broadband Network roll-out is Bathurst-bound, but the process to put in the necessary infrastructure has left long-time Rock Forest resident Dee Stuebe shattered.
It appears the amenity of her isolated bush block and iconic earth-covered home could be lost forever following notification that a neighbour has done a deal to allow a 40-metre broadband tower to be built on his property.
But Mrs Stuebe has vowed to fight the development and has started a campaign which is gaining momentum.
Mrs Stuebe’s family and a band of supporters in the area have put signs on their front fences highlighting their concerns.
They have also started an online petition which has garnered 127 signatures from friends, family and total strangers across the world who recognise the value of the property and agree it is an unsuitable location for such a massive piece of infrastructure.
“I feel betrayed and very angry by all of this,” Mrs Stuebe said. “However, the support I have received is really overwhelming.
“The problem is the site selected is close to our boundary and within sight of our home, which is quite possibly the region’s most unique example of living in harmony with the local environment – an environment which is both fragile and beautiful.”
Mrs Stuebe’s daughter Ellen said she believes this to be the first on-the-ground example of the rollout of the NBN in the Bathurst region.
“In our case, the NBN Co’s representative consultancy for the region, Daly International, got in touch with just a few Rock Forest residents some months ago to discuss the potential of a tower on their property,” she said.
“My mother declined the offer immediately, believing the tower to be completely incompatible with the area and the values we uphold on our property and a potential health risk. Our neighbour, however, considered the offer, consulted my mother, who expressed her complete objection, and then went ahead and signed the option ...
“We are not opposed to broadband being offered in the area and understand some people feel it will be a benefit to their lives or businesses.
“However, we believe that in that case, the tower infrastructure should be placed in a location in which the landholder with the tower will use the service and is in agreement to have the tower; that all immediate neighbours to that property and affected parties are in agreement to have the tower in that location.”
Ellen Stuebe said the family contacted council, which told them there is no precedent in NSW for winning an objection against a piece of Commonwealth legislated infrastructure such as a broadband tower.
“As such, they have no power to assist us in opposing it,” she said.