The Lexton community was hit hard recently, experiencing a serious road accident, fire and the loss of its major event, Rainbow Serpent Festival within months of each other, all culminating in one major issue — the severe lack of mobile reception which has plagued the area for years.
However, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel with a mobile small cell site switched on in the town by Telstra last week and the long-awaited Optus mobile tower scheduled to be up and running by the end of the month.
Mobile reception has been an ongoing issue for Lexton, particularly during emergencies.
In October last year emergency services descended on the town after a tractor collided with a minibus carrying students and staff from the Ballarat Specialist School on the Sunraysia Highway in Lexton’s town centre.
The unreliable phone service caused issues for parents attempting to contact their children and emergency services were forced to make calls from the general store landline.
Similar problems were experienced when fire broke out two months later on December 20, the weekend before Christmas.
The fire raged through the nearby Mount Lonarch and Ben Major State Forest burning nearly 3000 hectares of bush and farm land, parts of the Rainbow Serpent Festival site and coming within kilometres of the Lexton township.
Residents were unable to receive regular emergency updates on their mobiles and CFA Commander Anthony Pearce told The Advertiser at the time that reception was one of the “greatest challenges” on the fire ground.
To help combat the lack of service, Telstra’s new small cell site was this month set up at the company’s existing exchange site.
For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, June 19