ORANGE City Council is in talks with the RSL to move the cenotaph to the centre of Robertson Park to cater for the increasing number of people who go to the site to show their respect for those who went to war.
Council staff confirmed while they’re in talks with representatives from the RSL and the Anzac committee about moving the commemorative monument to the middle of the park between the rotunda and the fountain, the plan was still a long way from being finalised.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said a decision had not been made and no money had been earmarked to fund the move in the council’s 2014/15 draft budget.
Mr Redmond said council would work hand-in-hand with the RSL to determine if the cenotaph should be relocated, and council staff were yet to determine if it was possible to reconfigure the site to accommodate the move.
“It really is very early days,” Mr Redmond said.
The chair of the Anzac committee, and one of the three custodians of the cenotaph, Graeme Scott, said it was obvious the cenotaph should be moved sooner than later to accommodate the growing crowds who come to services that are held there, particularly those held on Anzac Day.
“The crowds just get bigger and bigger year after year, it would be nice to have it moved prior to the centenary year [the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli],” he said.
“We only get one shot at moving it.”
Mr Scott said if it was moved, the new site would need to be consecrated by church representatives.
“The site would need to be blessed and a solemn ceremony would need to be performed ... this is not something that’s taken lightly,” he said.
“But I think it will be a lot better for the public because it’s getting very cramped where we are now and if we don’t move, trees may have to be removed.”
“We’re mindful of what the cenotaph represents and we don’t take moving it lightly, and I’m not saying that we won’t get some sort of flak from the public"
Mr Scott said a new location and modification around the cenotaph would also be better for people with disabilities and veterans.
He said council’s plans to build toilets in the park would also prove beneficial to visitors.
“There’s not many parks in the middle of town that don’t have a toilet block,” he said.
Mr Scott said he and the other custodians of the cenotaph, Chris Colvin and Les McGaw, whose job it is to oversee the monument’s welfare, were looking forward to talking with council about its relocation plans.
“We’re mindful of what the cenotaph represents and we don’t take moving it lightly, and I’m not saying that we won’t get some sort of flak from the public,” he said.
Mr Scott said if the move happened in the lead- up to the centenary, the council may be successful in apply for state and federal grants to help offset the costs.