Council to ask why Sherwood hasn't received phone tower funding

WHY NOT US: Keilira has received crucial phone tower funding, but Tatiara District Council wants to know why Sherwood hasn't. Photo: Supplied.

WHY NOT US: Keilira has received crucial phone tower funding, but Tatiara District Council wants to know why Sherwood hasn't. Photo: Supplied.

Residents from the South East region have long called for improved phone reception in bushfire-prone areas.

The horrific Keilira bushfire earlier this year resulted in the area receiving funding for a phone tower, however, Tatiara District Council is wondering why the Sherwood region hasn't received the same treatment.

Raising the district's bushfire history at its June meeting, council agreed to write to Member for Barker Tony Pasin and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride.

The letter, written by council CEO Anne Champness, praised both members for their vocal support when it comes to improved phone coverage in their respective electorates.

Ms Champness stated reliable phone coverage is significant for families, individuals and businesses.

"Mobile connectivity not only creates economic opportunity, it also improves safety for those living outside of large towns or cities," Ms Champness stated in the letter.

"Council was pleased to see this safety aspect reflected in the 'Mobile Black Spot Program - Round 5A' suggested priority areas."

She pointed out the first of the priority areas are "high priority natural disaster prone areas, including those affected or prone to bushfire".

With that in mind, council pointed out that the Sherwood area fitted that description perfectly.

On January 8, 2018, a bushfire tore through the area, burning 13,000 hectares of pasture and crops, 3000 head of livestock, six houses, 13 sheds and other infrastructure.

The damage bill for that horrific blaze totalled close to $7.1 million.

Later that same year, another bushfire hit Sherwood, taking the total number of fires in the area to six in six years.

"A key concern raised in the wake of the 2018 fires was the lack of mobile phone reception during an emergency," Ms Champness said.

"A lack that is exacerbated further by the patchy radio coverage meaning in the case of a power outage, some people living in the area have no means of staying informed as the emergency unfolds."

With a strong history of bushfires in the area, council decided to ask Mr Pasin and Mr McBride why Keilira received phone tower funding before Sherwood did.

Ms Champness said council would greatly appreciate any advice on the matter, and any support they may be able to lend to improve mobile connectivity in the Sherwood area.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride has been contacted for comment.