Fears today for the local environment and private property, with a telco looking to bring a cable from Darkes Forest, down the escarpment and across privately-owned land in Coledale.
Residents have been notified AARNet will access the backyards of at least one local family to carry out inspections and install their ‘low-impact facilities’.
AARNet says they expect to bury optical fibre cable, conduits and pits on the privately-owned land, and test new cables.
Locals have been given 10 business days notice saying under the current Telecommunications Act 1997- only two days notice is required if the land is not deemed ‘sensitive’ and only an inspection is required.
A document supplied by AARNet says they will take all reasonable steps to ensure as little detriment and inconvenience is caused, and do as little damage as practical. They say they’ll take all reasonable steps to ensure land is restored to a ‘similar’ condition as before the activity began.
Wollongong Council says under the Telecommunications Act there is no obligation for them to be notified.
The plan has outraged Coledale resident Tim Berry, whose property is in the line of fire.
“They’ve told us there will be trucks and heavy machinery on our land,” he says. “And if anything is damaged, including our driveway, they’re under no obligation to consider compensation until the project is complete- which could take 15 months
“We understand the work they are proposing involves 500 meters of horizontal and 200 meters of vertical drilling.
“If it is as simple and non-intrusive as they make out, why is it expected to take more than a year? And how long will they be on our property? They have not detailed what equipment they will be using, and we are also concerned as to why they haven’t had any Aboriginal heritage studies, any environmental or any geotechnical studies, which seems unusual as they will be drilling behind the cliff face. Surely they have to engage specialists before they commence such substantial works?
“There is plenty of public land around. With Bulli Pass closing it would be a great opportunity to take the cable down the escarpment via the road. We have two young children. I don’t understand why they’re imposing this on my family and I.”