A meeting was held between Mayor Kevin Beatty and Cabonne Council’s General Manager Bradley Byrnes and locals Tommy Jeffs, Mrs Pauline Carroll and Bernadette Watson regarding the hotly debated upkeep of the Canowindra Cemetery, on Monday. Verity Middleton was also in attendance.
Staunchly outspoken local Tommy Jeffs, has been asking for a response from the Council regarding the state of the cemetery since he began maintaining the cemetery with a group of volunteers in October last year. While there are numerous issues, Tommy said that one of the most pressing is the lack of protection for graves. With no clear markings, motorists can drive over the final resting place of people he considers to be pioneers.
Monday’s discussion centred around the community’s concerns and Council’s plan to maintain the cemetery. Bradley Byrnes conceded that in 2020, due to COVID and unprecedented rain, Council “dropped the ball” on the upkeep of the cemetery. He reassured the group that the cemetery and local concerns have not fallen upon deaf ears. Despite this, the Council said that they are working within certain parameters and there is a limit to what they can do. “Cabonne Council takes the maintenance of the 12 country cemeteries across the Local Government Area very seriously,” Council said, adding that they “must balance Council’s service capacities with community expectations.”
However Council have made room in their 2021/22 budget for some updates, which “includes the provision of a rainwater tank at the cemetery rotunda and the purchase and spread of aggregate on weathered clay sections of the Roman Catholic section of the cemetery.”
have “implemented temporary measures for issues of motorists driving across the cemetery grounds and over a burial plot and are looking into permanent measures.”
Despite this, Tommy remained skeptical of Council’s ability to communicate, claiming he had not received a response after calling the Council in October asking for a higher level of maintenance. Bradley personally reassured him that contact between citizens and Council will improve going forward.
“If any community member has concerns about this or any other issue, please contact Council using our online contact form (www.cabonne.nsw.gov.au/Council/Contact-Councilor) or by calling 6392 3200. Council appreciates cemetery visitors con-tacting us for information on the location of burials and also to advise of grave subsidence or other management matters,” Ca-bonne Council advised.
This Sunday, Tommy will be hosting another working bee to ensure the cemetery looks maintained for Mother’s Day and the Tigers reunion in May. Council are satisfied with this compromise as the Canowindra Lions will be covering insurance on the day. Lions will also provide a barbeque for helpers, who are encouraged to arrive at the cemetery at 12pm to begin work.
Tommy is heartened by the meeting, though he believes there is still a long way to go.
“They are back on track,” Tommy said, noting the return of Council’s Gaskill Street maintenance. “They are again cleaning the street and it looks brilliant.”