As most will know by now, a new broadband mast is being placed on top of Clara Mountain, with new ESB cables running up the side of the mountain. Below is a progression of our efforts to find out what was going on, and to try to ensure that the development is . (newest stuff at the top, oldest at the bottom).
Tuesday 3rd October 2006
And so it is done. Today, the poles are being erected on Clara as I write this. A few minutes ago, I caught a glimpse of them on the horizon just by pure chance. We were not informed by anyone, nor did permaNet get back to us on their promised letter to the ESB. For better or for worse it is being done now, but we must still answer a few questions
* Local governance. Have we any control over what happpens in our own area, our environment, or is it all controlled by people that have nothing to do with the area.
* Society in general. Do we care about the future or is it all about ‘mé féin’?
* Did permaNet work with the community? Were they honest with their actions? Should we lend them our support?
* Was this all just a storm in a teacup? or were the concerns justifiable?
They are up now for better or for worse, so send a comment to xxxxxx on how you feel about what has happened. (Happy/sad/don’t care). Or you may prefer to leave a comment at the the new Millstreet blog
Tuesday 26th September
We’ve been having a lot of emails in the last few days, which we’ve been putting on the discussion board. Some interesting points were raised about the fires on the Clara that happen every few years, and how they would bring down poles and expose naked live wires …. and also maybe some issues with the Irish Aviation Authority.
And at last today, we received our first email in favour of the proposed work, which also brought the human cost of the project into view. We are happy to get some sense of balance on the argument, but your voice will never be heard unless you leave a comment.
Wedensday 20th September
Spoke to a guy from PermaNet on the phone today and I must say that he was very helpful with outlining their current position. Here are the main points I gathered:
* IRD Duhallow invited them to provide a wireless broadband service for the Millstreet and surrounding areas.
* In their view (and ours too) Clara is the best location for this as it has panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
* They have looked at different ways at getting power to the the top of Clara, from:
o A generator, which really would be unfeasable because of the terrain.
o Burying lines in a trench carrying electricity to the top
o ESB poles to the top.
* The landowners in question had been contacted about the poles and ESB lines and were happy. (This conflicts with the entry below from Tuesday 19th.)
* The ESB work will consist of eleven poles in total. He said that they are not large pylons that are to be erected, but regular timber ESB poles.
* He also stressed that it is not a large mast that is being erected, but a small aeriel 2m high, with two antennae. (This was pointed out previously on Monday’s post)
* They have been waiting for approximately 6-9 months for the ESB to get back to them on the work. This has been the reason it has not been put up earlier in the year.
* The number of people interested in the service at the moment is small. (But this obviously has the potential to grow in outlying areas where aDSL does not reach).
* Since the ESB will not deal with us, and only with their clients, he said he will contact them stating the misgivings of locals towards the poles and lines, and will thhus inform us on their response.
Since this is not a large (and probably not very lucrative) project for them at the moment, he said that it would be very easy for them to walk away from the project, if public opinion was against them. This is not what we are looking for at all because we of all people know that the service is needed. But as is stated below, it’s all about doing the right thing.
So we have the option of poles and broadband, or no poles and no broadband. Contact us at xxxxxxx
Tuesday 19th September
We attended the Millstreet Community Council meeting tonight and were informed by those present of the current situation (outlined below). General agreement was that the overhead ESB lines and poles would not be positive on the mountainside, and that it would be a very simple solution just to bury the lines underground.
It also transpired from the meeting that the ESB were up on the mountain today surveying and measuring for pricing. Not very encouraging. Also, some of the landowners on Clara were also contacted, and they seemed to know nothing about the development, which is surprising too.
Monday 18th September
At last, some information
After hearing the initial news last Thursday of the new mast and ESB poles all the way to the top of the mountain, we have been trying to get more information from permaNet and the ESB about what they would be erecting on Clara.
The ESB were very unforthcoming with information, and said that they would only give information to their clients. PermaNet were more willing to give information and the following description is from them. [It was previously stated here that PermaNet were unforthcoming with information with information, which we regret was incorrect due mostly to pooor communication on our part]
They intend placing a mast on top of the bunker (or a hut) which is placed at the top of the mountain back behind the cross. It will be 2m high mast with 2 antennae coming from this mast.
Also to deliver electricity to the top of the mountain, there will be standard ESB poles running up the side of the mountain, to the very top from a farm at the top of Kilmeedy.
It is felt that this is a minor development, and while the service is need for outlying area’s of Millstreet which cannot get broadband through the phone line. Still, we would like to have seen the cables buried, but there is probably not a lot we can do because the ESB can pretty much put up poles and cables wherever they like as long as it’s considered ‘safe’.
This whole scenario leaves us with a few thoughts which probably need to be answered:
* The infrastructure described above was able to proceed without ever applying for planning permission. Why is this so?
* Few knew about this until last week except a few people with vested interests …. until it was passed on in idle conversation. Surely this was wrong.
* The ESB were very unforthcoming with information, as normal. Should they be allowed to ride roughshod over us all the time.
* Now that there will be electricity at the top of Clara, does it not seem likely that it’s now ideal to place further masts up there because of its panoramic views of the surrounding countryside
All in the name of progress. makes you think.
Anyway, there is a community council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) night in the Wallis Arms. We will go along and express our views on the situation, and see what can be done from there.
Does anyone have any suggestions of how we should proceed?
People are not happy!
Friday 14th September
We have recieved a number of emails with negative feelings towards the mast and ESB lines/poles.
On the permaNet website they state :- “permaNET is working with community groups in these locations to expedite the availability of broadband in their area”. They had a meeting for the general public i think just after christmas 9 months ago, and we all signed forms with names and email addresses etc. We heard no more from them.
The problem is that we need service for the outlying areas of Millstreet because they can’t get aDSL, but we could without scarring the countryside. How hard could it be to bury cables? It all sounds like NIMBYism, but it’s not. It’s about doing what’s right first time around.
Alas, precedent would tell us that the ESB can do whatever they like. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76465 has a very long article this. (it only gets interesting about half way down when they start talking about what the ESB can get away with)
Thursday 14th September
Important News Flash
We have just learned the disturbing news that there is a broadband mast to go up on top of Clara Mountain. Also, a cable suspended on poles is to be placed all the way up the side of the mountain. While the broadband company want the cables to be buried….the ESB, who are doing the work, are refusing to bury the cables and insist that the cable will have to be put on poles. Work has not yet started, but will start so in a week or two. We are not sure that anyone in town knows that this is happening. Both the ESB and PermaNet are being very quiet about all this, and we feel that all this is going on behind the backs of the community.
I’m not sure if we can do anything about the mast at this stage, but for such a scenic place these cables should be buried, and now is the time to have it done, rather than wait until they are up on poles.
So we are now looking at another area to be plastered with ESB poles, and masts. Just go back to west Kerry and see how bad things are. We know that Clara is very important to a lot of people in town, and will be upset by this development. So please spread the word and let people know whats happening, and contact your local councilor or TD before it is too late, or contact us at xxxxxxxxxxxx
[this first appeared on the front page of www.millstreet.ie]
View from Clara