The telecommunications company Telstra has called a public meeting with Balgowlah residents to discuss the installation of a mobile phone antenna on top of a power pole in New Street, Balgowlah.
From 6PM on Wednesday, you can read the full story right here on The Sydney Newsdesk. Reporter Mackenzie Price will be live streaming updates throughout the night keeping you up to date with everything you need to know.
The live blog commences below at 6pm on Wednesday night.
Update 03:00am, 24/01/13: You can read our full and in-depth wrap-up of the nights events right here.
Live blog: Telstra public meeting
Thanks for following. We’ll have a post on this early tomorrow.
The meeting is over.
“I hope you keep your job and they don’t sack you” interrupts one resident.
“Telstra will work through this the right way.”
“I’m giving you my personal commitment that we will not do the wrong thing” says the Telstra executive.
A Telstra executive has appeared at the back of the hall. She lives in the area. She is very concerned.
Telstra spokesman visibly frustrated with being unable to complete his question
A man asks that if in twenty years time, and residents are sick from the antenna, who do they call?
Telstra says that the same base station supplies both data and voice.
One resident says that he went to make a triple-zero call on his mobile phone but it didn’t go through. It is unknown what network he was with.
Telstra says they are only responding with the antenna because of the “explosion of data” in the area.
One resident asks if the community can work together to reduce the demand for usage in the area.
One yells out “Can kids vote? They’ll be the ones who will be effected.”
“Why can’t we have a referendum of the surrounding area to see if people want it? Yes or no.”
A local resident who often visits the country says that he needs Telstra as it is the only company that provides him service when he leaves the Sydney area.
One person says they are a Telstra customer and that they are planning on changing because of this.
Telstra says that if the majority of the community is against it, Telstra will not install it.
Resident asks “if the community is against the tower, will Telstra continue to install it?”
Dr Anderson says that mobile base station towers have been operating since the mid-80′s.
Mr Baird says that if it was final, the antenna would have already been up.
Mike Baird says that the decision about the antenna from Telstra is still not final.
Dr Anderson says that exposure to the antenna won’t have an effect on the ladies health.
An elderly lady who lives in the same area as the proposed antenna asks if she will have a reoccurrence of breast cancer because of the antenna.
Dr Anderson takes large gulps of his bottle of water after answering a question.
A resident says that only 18 of over 15,000 base stations have been audited in the last 5 years.
A resident screams into the microphone “once we have this antenna, where does it stop?”
Mike Baird asks if there is absolutely no exposure on the close by unit at all. Telstra replies with a simple “no”. Crowd says “is that under the 1998 limits?”
A grandfather who’s children who live 5-6 meters from tower says he is worried that his grandchildren’s brains “will be fried”.
Telstra says that land owners of potential other sites have said no to the antenna. Crowd says screams “wonder why?”
Two roving microphones are handed out to the crowd.
Questions are starting.
Dr Anderson shows the RF hazard zones above the proposed antenna.
Many young children are wearing tin foil hats with radiation logos on the front.
Dr Anderson is heckled by the crowd at one point, told to move on as what he is saying is “irrelevant”.
Dr Anderson says he has been working in the industry for 23 years. He started at Telstra.
Dr Vitas Anderson, a doctor that Telstra has brought along with them, says the antenna is low impact.
We count approximately 180 attendees. Many streaming out the door.
“Data traveling on the network is doubling every single year” says Telstra.
Mayor says this is the largest public meeting she has seen in her time as Mayor.
Manly Council mayor Jean Hay is also in attendance and says the council is against the antenna.
Local MP Mike Baird, who is attending the meeting, says he is against the antenna installation.
The hall is overflowing with many people forced to stand.
Another resident says their house with 3 bedrooms is less than 50 meters away from the proposed antenna.
One man who requires a sleep apnea machine said he was worried that the antenna may interfere with his machine.
People are starting to enter into the hall.
Residents have assembled outside Balgowlah Bowling Club chanting “no Telstra tower”
We will be live, right here, from around 6pm on Wednesday night.