COMMUNITY SUPPORT SOUGHT FOR CELL TOWER INSTALLATION
The Clutha District Development Board has agreed to provide up to $3,000 support towards the installation of a new cell tower near Papatowai, and is now seeking forward contributions from the community to assist with preparation works.
Tourism Catlins recently made a successful application to the Vodafone Community Cell Site Request Scheme for two cell sites in The Catlins – one at the northern end (Clutha District) and one at the southern end (Southland District). Construction of the north Catlins community site is dependent upon construction of the scheduled Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) site in Owaka.
The priority for the northern Catlins site is to provide coverage to the Papatowai township and the surrounding stretch of the Southern Scenic Route; a key tourism route, and also to part of the Tahakopa Valley if this is possible.
District Development Manager Jill Borland said the community tower scheme also depended on support from Council and the local community to enable installation costs to be minimised. Community towers are constructed using recycled materials from other Vodafone towers which have been upgraded.
Earlier this month, Council supplied radios and also arranged for a helicopter to support Vodafone’s initial site inspections of the northern Catlins cell site.
The District Development Board last week endorsed the $1,000 spent on helicopter services to scope potential sites, and also agreed to provide up to $3,000 for other expenses related to the installation of the northern Catlins tower.
Ms Borland said Vodafone would carry out all of the technical processes in regards to installation and getting the site activated. But there were a number of other ways the community could help such as assistance with civil works during the build phase. This could include:
• Contractor concessions.
• Community working parties to assist with scrub clearing or digging.
• Supply of machinery.
Any local businesses or community groups prepared to assist should contact Ms Borland by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 419 0247. Those who register their interest will be contacted once build dates are confirmed.
Ms Borland said that at this stage the northern Catlins cell site was expected to be constructed in Summer 2012 – at the same time, or just after, construction of the Owaka Rural Broadband Initiative cell site.
Initially the new Catlins Community Cell Sites will provide only mobile coverage. However, once erected they will then become part of Vodafone’s upgrade planning cycle and future development could enable broadband service as well.