Resident accuses council of neglect at Molong Cemetery

RESPECT REQUESTED: Eileen Ford wants an alternate access to the newer section of Molong Cemetery. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA 0112drgraves3
RESPECT REQUESTED: Eileen Ford wants an alternate access to the newer section of Molong Cemetery. Photo: DECLAN RURENGA 0112drgraves3

CABONNE Council will review access to Molong Cemetery due to hearses driving over graves.

Orange resident Eileen Ford, whose parents are both buried in Molong, met with Cabonne Council on Friday claiming the left turn into the lawn cemetery was too sharp for hearses to turn without driving over plots.

“If they open the gateway to the [south], pedestrians and cars will go up the middle of [the graves] and where they go now will be fenced off completely,” she said.

Hearses do not hit the gravestones, but they do need to travel over the row of grass plots, as many as 20.

Ms Ford said the council had previously committed to spending $20,000 to address access to the cemetery, but it had not changed.

“It says, neglect, neglect, neglect,” she said.

“They don’t care.”

Norman J Penhall Funerals and Orange Funerals have both added their support to changing the access, writing to the council in June last year.

Orange Funerals owner John McDonell said it had been an issue for hearses and digging equipment ever since he took up the business three years ago and a second access made sense.

“It’s just not nice to go that way,” he said of driving over graves.

“But the hearse is a bit under eight metres long, you can’t get away from them.”

Cabonne Council acting general manager Stephen Harding said the $20,000 allocated in 2006 was actually intended for gravel resurfacing of all 11 cemeteries’ accesses.

“It was more or less grading the existing access over 11 cemeteries, so it’s not going to go a long way to fixing those problems,” he said.

“What was done 10 years ago, you’re not going to see the benefits now.”

Mr Harding said a further $50,000 allocated in October would address access, following efforts to map the cemeteries more accurately using drones.

He said hoped construction could start in the next three to four months.

Cabonne mayor Ian Gosper said Friday’s meeting went well.

“It’s an emotive issue and we realise that,” he said.

“I really believe our cemeteries have come a long way in the past few years, but we’re trying to work with our community.”

Ms Ford was also concerned about a gum tree located near a memorial wall and what could happen to it if a limb fell.

However, Cr Gosper said no limbs were in range of the wall.

“An arborist has looked at the tree amnd found no limbs that will fall, it’s in healthy condition and it’s a good shade tree  in the summer time,” he said.

“Council will keep an eye on that tree – that was discussed [in the meeting] and they seemed to be happy with it.”

A further meeting has been scheduled for the end of February.