HELDERBERG residents are enraged over a cellphone company’s plans to erect a mast in a nature reserve in Somerset West.
They want the City of Cape Town to oppose the application.
Cell C has applied to the city to lease a piece of land inside the Helderberg Nature Reserve – on which they intend to erect a 15m mast – after residents lodged objections to the company’s first proposal to erect a 25m-tall tower.
Yesterday residents vowed not to back down, because they did not want a mast of any height in the nature reserve.
According to environmental regulations, approval to erect a 15m cellphone mast does not require public participation.
But resident Keith Viljoen said the erection of such a tower would result in the destruction of the natural environment within the nature reserve.
“The erection of the mast impacts on the environment as you still require a base structure, with a cleared area around it. Access roads and regular structural and technical maintenance is also required, thus leading to further disruption to the environment,” he added.
Another resident, Sandy Webster said they would lodge objections until they got what they wanted.
City spokesman Charles Cooper confirmed that it had received an application from Cell C to lease land in the nature reserve for the purpose of erecting a cell mast and base station.
He said the application had been circulated internally, and they had received several objections from various departments.
“The proposal will be advertised externally shortly, giving the public the opportunity to object if they so wish, after which a report will be submitted to the council for consideration.”
The Helderberg Conservation Forum, representing a group of societies in the Somerset West area, said they too were opposed to the erection of the mast.
The forum’s chairman, David MacDonald, said their members were fundamentally opposed to the installation of any radio masts and associated equipment within the reserve, on the grounds that every possible measure must be taken to conserve the area and protect it from man-made disturbances.
“The Helderberg Nature Reserve has been carefully protected and nurtured since being proclaimed 50 years ago, and it is regarded by the community as a sanctuary against the pressure of urban development. Such an installation will be seen as a violation of the very limited natural landscape still remaining in the area,” he said.
Cell C did not respond to questions yesterday.