Now I’m not going to wade into a discussion about the health-risks or otherwise of cellphone towers. I’m not qualified to comment and I really don’t have the appetite for the fight those sorts of discussions invariably turn into. All I’ll say is that I use a mobile device, and get mighty annoyed when I can’t get coverage with it – the solution to which is, I guess, more cell sites.

I do however have a pathological distaste for Nimby-ism, that affliction that sees residents react to whichever local development is planned with a “Not in My Backyard” mentality. I’ve been exposed to Nimbyism a lot in the past few years – I live in a location that has either seen proposed, consented or actually built two regional landfills, several major alternative energy projects, a few major tourism projects and some assorted infrastructure build outs.

I’m also involved in community groups in said reason and have seen first hand the passion (and sometimes blind passion) caused by these projects.

With all of this background it was awesome to read a post by Miki, a blogger who I have a major amount of respect for anyway, where he discusses the current debate going on around cell towers in a couple of New Zealand locations. For a bit of background Miki was an engineer for a major telco and has had to front up on numerous occasions to discuss cell sites with worried residents.

I can’t help but think that the majority of residents concerns however are more a case of Nimby-ism then they are of the concerns about cell site radiation and it’s consequences. There’s nothing worse than being told of the perils of landfills by a farmer that everyone knows has a rubbish pit full of the detritus of decades of farming and that gets burnt off every year or so. Or the concerns of locals about the environmental impact of a windfarm, a little hard to take given the slash and burn farming mentality that we’ve inherited from generations past.

All interesting thoughts – but the parting line must come from Miki who says it better than I could;

It doesn’t really matter what I say I guess – it’s what I do.

Ella [Miki’s daughter] has just started at a pre-school two days a week. There are two sites within 100m of the pre-school. My position on this issue is clear.

No one can accuse you of being either a nimby or a hypocrite Miki – kudos!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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