After a detailed investigation, the City of Cockburn has been advised its proposal to paint the water towers in Coolbellup cannot go ahead due to safety reasons.
Water Corporation and non-profit cultural organisation FORM jointly investigated the feasibility of painting the water towers.
While ‘in principle’ support was given by the Water Corporation to the art project, further investigations into the safety and logistics of the project have demonstrated that the telecommunications antennas fixed on both towers would pose a safety risk.
Artists would not be able to use an elevated platform required to paint the towers, which are over 30 metres high, as this would place them within the exclusion zones immediately around the antennas, as defined by the Australian Electromagnetic Energy Standard.
Given their operational importance to the local mobile phone network, radios and televisions, it is not feasible to switch off the antennas to allow for the project to be completed, which was anticipated by FORM to take up to three weeks.
The Water Corporation said the news was disappointing for everyone involved, but ultimately the safety of artists who would be working at close range to the antennas would always take priority.
The City and Water Corporation will discuss alternative public arts projects that highlight the value of water. Any future investigations would involve Water Corporation assets unconstrained by safety concerns, such as pump stations and electrical cabinets.
It is important to note the telecommunications companies that use the Coolbellup water towers (Optus, Vividwireless and Vodafone) deploy their network in compliance with the relevant Federal Government mandated standards for exposure to electromagnetic energy emissions.
The exclusion zone is directly around the antennas at the top of the towers, at a height of over 30 metres.
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