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           Home >  Health N Environment  > Electromagnetic Radiation  :

Schools And Cellphone Towers
- Dorothy - 28/11/97

To read more about Dr Neil Cherry and his work, please visit his website for more information.

Defeat of Pam Corkery's bill
These have been much in the news this week with the defeat of Pam Corkery's Private Member's Bill prohibiting the erection of cellphone towers within 300 metres of schools.

Twin towers in Hamilton
Today the erection of twin towers beside Sacred Heart College and a Hamilton East Primary School brings the issue right into prominence again.

The defeat of the bill seen as 'a snub to schools around the country'
I spoke to Bryon Porteous, principal of Shirley Primary School, after the news of the defeat of the bill.

Mr Porteous believes that by voting against the bill Members of Parliament snubbed the school communities around New Zealand. Shirley Primary School, on whose boundaries Telecom is planning to build a tower is taking its case to the Environment Court. It is a measure of the concern felt by parents and schools around the the country that over five hundred schools have contributed money towards the expenses of the court case. The amount contributed is between twenty and thirty thousand dollars.

School boundaries an obvious target
In his view one of the problems in New Zealand arises from the Resource Management Act which is not working for schools. It is administered by local government, but councils are not allowing cellphone towers to be built on their land. Schools have the only other clear land and cannot afford to go to court. Because the Ministry of Education will not advise or support schools in this process schools have little chance against major corporations.

Pupils more at risk than the Hamilton bulls and racehorse
In the news last week a farmer was worried about bulls 300 metres from a cellphone tower, and a son of the racehorse Sir Tristram around a kilometre away - a very valuable animal. At Shirley Primary School in Christchurch Telecom intends building a tower 15 metres from the playground and 30 metres from classrooms. This tower will be on property belonging to the Masonic Lodge.

In New Zealand it is against Ministry of Education policy to build towers in school property, but this tower will be nearer the classrooms than if it had built on the other side of the playground in the school's own grounds. It was approved by a Resource Consent panel of Christchurch City Councillors.

This has come about because the Masons have not honoured their responsibility to the community of three hundred children.

Schools unite against the threat
Shirley Primary School, along with five hundred schools so far around New Zealand, has raised $30,000 to pay for a two week hearing in the Environment Court.

If you wish to contact Bryon Porteous or send a donation to the fund for the court hearing expenses, you can reach him at:
Shirley Primary School
11 Shirley Road
Phone and fax (03) 385 2019

If you wish to become more informed on the dangers of electromagnetic radiation and the problems schools are facing, read the three articles on interviews with Neil Cherry and the Hot Topic about schools which appeared in NZine earlier this year.

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