Lawn Cemetery

New Cemetery Policy for Condobolin on display

By Melissa Blewitt

 

It’s now time for Condobolin residents to have their say on the Draft Cemetery Policy.

The Condobolin Cemetery Committee met on Wednesday, 8 June and after a marathon discussion, tabled changes to the existing Policy that was put to the monthly Council meeting (15 June).

Councillors voted unanimously to put the amended Condobolin Cemetery Policy on public exhibition for a period of 28 days.

There are numerous changes the community need to be aware of.

If adopted, the Policy states burials can only be undertaken at the Condobolin cemetery under the control of a licenced funeral director.

A Funeral Director in charge of a funeral will be liable for the payment of any charges incurred in relation to the funeral.

Council at its discretion may enter into an agreement with any Funeral Director to allow a 30 day line of credit for the payment of any costs incurred in relation to funerals under the control of a Funeral Director.

In relation to Plaques and Monuments; Plaques are to be fixed to the plinth provided in lawn cemeteries and shall be a standard size of between 70mm x 30mm and 380mm x 280mm, etched in bronze with raised lettering.

The placement of plaques is also to be a duty of Council.

When plaques are received by Council, the family will be notified that plaques are going to be installed by Council, and Council will remove the temporary cross. Family members have the option to collect the cross from Council if they wish.

Two months after a burial, Council staff will level off the dirt in the Lawn Cemetery.

Vases, pots, ornaments etc are permitted to be placed on graves for a period of up to twelve months from the date of burial.

After this period ornaments or trinkets under 300 millimetres (mm) high be allowed wholly on each plinth space and that this condition will be retrospective and commence on 1 November 2016.

No motion activated devices are allowed in the Lawn Cemetery and a maximum of two (300 mm high or less) solar lights will be permitted.

The community can have their say on the amended draft policy by making a submission to Council by 4.30pm on 14 July.

Submissions may be sent to Council via  email: Council@lachlan.nsw.gov.au, by mailing them to PO Box 216, Condobolin, NSW, 2877 or delivering them to the LSC office in Molong Street. A copy of the Policy can be obtained at the LSC office, the Condobolin Library or at www.lachlan.nsw.gov.au

Senseless act

• LEFT: Vandals broke crosses, pulled out flowers and smashed mementos at the Condobolin Lawn Cemetery over the Easter weekend. Local residents and family members arrived at the Cemetery to be confronted with an “atrocious act of vandalism.” “This is disgusting,” Condobolin resident Pauleen Dimos said. Her mother and father’s graves were damaged by the vandals.

By Melissa Blewitt

Local residents and family members arrived at the Condobolin Cemetery to be confronted with a senseless act of vandalism after the Easter long weekend.

Broken crosses, shattered mementos and flowers were strewn across the lawn portion of the Cemetery.

Local resident Pauleen Dimos labelled it an “atrocious act of vandalism.”

“This is disgusting,” she said.

Her mother and father’s graves were damaged by the vandals.

“It is a low act to damage a grave. Those that did this have no regard for the families or their loved ones. No family wants to come here and see something like this. It’s just wrong.”

Lachlan Shire Council’s Director of Environment and Planning, Andrew Johns, said he was upset that so many local families had to endure the sight of their loved ones graves being desecrated.

“I’m saddened to hear of the mindless vandalism that has occurred at the cemetery,” he said.

“Council will be working with Condobolin police to try and bring those responsible to justice.”

It is believed the vandalism took place between last Sunday night and early Monday morning.

The incident has been reported to the Condobolin Police.

Policy Review

Lachlan Shire Council (LSC) will review its Cemetery Policy after a public outcry erupted over the request to remove trinkets and ornaments from graves in the Lawn section.

• The Lachlan Shire Council will review its Cemetery Policy at its monthly meeting, to be held today, Wednesday, 21 October. The review comes after a public outcry over the request that trinkets and ornaments be removed from the Lawn Section. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

Lachlan Shire Council (LSC) will review its Cemetery Policy after a public outcry erupted over the request to remove trinkets and ornaments from graves in the Lawn section.

A report by the General Manager which will be presented to the monthly Council meeting, today, Wednesday 21 October, will recommend Council review the Policy and make any necessary adjustments.

The Cemetery Policy, adopted by Council in December 2014, was advertised in local papers, and at the Council Office in Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo according to LSC General Manager Robert Hunt.

He pointed to the “groundswell of criticism” by community members as the reason why an “immediate review” was required.

The concerns expressed by the community pertain to plaques and monuments, Mr Hunt said.

The recommended review of the Cemetery Policy will ensure that the definition of “Monument” will provide a more detailed interpretation as to what can or cannot be located at the gravesite, he added.

Mr Hunt said one of the objectives of the policy is to ensure a neat and tidy lawn cemetery.

“Efficient mowing of the lawn sections is occasionally disrupted by a variety of objects placed in the lawn section and these items should be restricted to the concrete plinth where possible,” Mr Hunt said.

“I apologise for any confusion that the interpretation of this policy may have caused and at the October meeting of Council I’m sure Council will make minor adjustments to the policy to provide more details on what can and cannot be placed at lawn cemetery grave sites.”

The Cemetery Policy currently adopted is relatively standard across NSW, with neighbouring Councils adopting similar approaches.

Forbes Shire Council’s policy states “That vases, pots, ornaments etc, be permitted to be placed on graves for a period of up to six months from the date of burial. After this time, Council staff will remove the vases/pots/ornaments etc.”

It goes on to say “Vases/pots/ornaments are not to be affixed to the beam.”

Parkes Shire Council also has a similar Policy. Their Lawn Cemetery – Policy and Maintenance Procedures says “Only plaques or approved headstones and flower receptacles are to be erected on the beams.”

Furthermore it states “A period of six months will be allowed for temporary grave site identification and flower receptacles prior to the installation of plaque or headstone.”

It also says “All unauthorised items including; receptacles, string and garden lights, ornaments and containers etc will be removed and held at Parkes Shire Council Administration Centre for collection by owner.”

The final line of the Policy states “The basis of the Policy is to maintain the Lawn Cemetery to an acceptable and safe standard by limiting the accumulation of flowers and especially unauthorised containers.”

Any correspondence relating to the review of the Cemetery Policy can be mailed to PO Box 216, Condobolin NSW 2877. The Cemetery Policy, if revised, will go on public exhibition for 28 days before going to Council for final adoption.

Grave Concerns

No trinkets, mementos, solar lights or statues will be allowed to be placed in the Lawn Cemetery from now on. And all those already in place, will have to be removed as soon as possible.

• Trinkets will no longer be allowed at the Lawn Cemetery. They all have to be removed. Editor’s Opinion Piece on page 3. MB

• Trinkets will no longer be allowed at the Lawn Cemetery. They all have to be removed. Editor’s Opinion Piece on page 3. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

No trinkets, mementos, solar lights or statues will be allowed to be placed in the Lawn Cemetery from now on.

And all those already in place, will have to be removed as soon as possible.

Lachlan Shire Council has received two complaints from the public, not staff, in relation to trinkets being placed in the Lawn Cemetery, and felt the community needed to understand the policy pertaining to the management of this public facility.

It is believed, that the reasoning that formed part of the complaints, was the argument that trinkets belonged with headstones in the main section of the cemetery, and not in the Lawn Cemetery.

Lachlan Shire Council’s Management of the Condobolin Cemetery policy states that “monuments with appropriate epitaphs and/or plaques are permitted in all sections of cemeteries except in lawn cemeteries.”

It goes on to say (Part b) “Plaques are to be fixed to the plinth provided in lawn cemeteries and shall be a standard size of 380 millimetres by 280 millimetres, etched in bronze with raised lettering.

“No monument, other than plaque described in (b) shall be permitted in lawn cemeteries.

“Prior approval from Council is required before any living monuments (plants etc) are placed on graves.”

There are penalties attached if a person does not adhere to these rules. The Cemetery Policy states “Any person acting contrary to the provision of this management plan may be found guilty of an offence under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) for which the penalty is a maximum of five penalty units.”

Council has the authority to remove any object that does not adhere to the Cemetery Policy.

“We do not want to remove personal items from the cemetery, but we ask the public to understand that this is Council policy and these objects must be taken off graves,” Lachlan Shire Mayor John Medcalf said.

“We want family members and loved ones to be able to remove the trinkets themselves, and we wanted to give them ample time to do so.”

Cr Medcalf added Council will soon be seeking expressions of interest for people looking at joining a Condobolin Cemetery Committee.

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