GRAVE CHANGE ANGER

Chinchilla News - - FRONT PAGE -

FAM­I­LIES are dev­as­tated to find their gifts to loved ones have been stripped away by the coun­cil.

Items have been re­moved from gravesites and left in large cages as part of a new three-monthly clean-up pro­gram by Western Downs Re­gional Coun­cil.

Dalby res­i­dent Vivi­enne Tay­lor said the coun­cil had no re­spect.

“We only had one son, that’s Michael, he died when he was 13. I had no idea that I could not put any­thing on his grave. They should in­form us of that,” Ms Tay­lor said.

“That is my only child, I pay for that plot. Why be­fore Christ­mas? Peo­ple say have a thing at home for him – he’s not there, he is here.

“If I can’t put two or three cars on my son’s grave, this is so wrong.”

Ms Tay­lor asked for peo­ple to close their eyes and think of their child.

“They’ve passed away, some­one's telling you you can’t buy them a toy or a lit­tle me­mento.

“How would they feel?” The coun­cil in a state­ment said it was proud of the up­keep in the ceme­ter­ies and con­tin­ued to en­sure these spe­cial places were well looked af­ter.

“Western Downs Re­gional Coun­cil re­spects the sen­si­tiv­ity around our ceme­ter­ies and memo­ri­als and for this rea­son it is im­por­tant to us that our ceme­ter­ies are both aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing and of­fer a safe en­vi­ron­ment for fam­ily and friends to re­mem­ber their loved ones.”

For these rea­sons, the coun­cil re­quested some items be re­moved.

The coun­cil added it had con­ducted “ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity en­gage­ment” about the mat­ter.

“As a re­sult, we have re­quested that some items be re­moved from gravesites for safety and also main­te­nance rea­sons.”

The state­ment con­cluded by say­ing the clean-ups would oc­cur ev­ery three months and that more in­for­ma­tion could be found on the coun­cil’s web­site.

A sign at the en­trance to Myall Me­mo­rial park states: ‘Small or­na­ments or me­men­tos may be placed within the area re­lat­ing to the gravesite within the con­crete beams sec­tions. No items are to be placed on the grassed area of a gravesite ex­cept where coun­cil has made pro­vi­sions for such.’

While it had been spec­u­lated by some this may mean the con­crete area around the plaque, coun­cil­lor Carolyn Till­man said this was a spec­i­fi­ca­tion for cer­tain ceme­ter­ies that have a long con­crete strip above the head­stones.

In­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic was dis­sem­i­nated by changes to the coun­cil web­site and posts to its Face­book page as a let­ter drop was deemed too ex­pen­sive.

Signs were also put up at the ceme­ter­ies to alert vis­i­tors of the changes but Cr Till­man could not con­firm how long be­fore the clean-up these signs were in­stalled.

Cr Till­man in­vited any­one with con­cerns to con­tact her.

PHOTO: SHAN­NON HARDY

SHOCKED: Lib Hodges, Kay Barnes, Ann Hawkins and Sonya Brent.

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