Narrabri Shire councillors have endorsed an $892,000 plan for road, kerb and gutter upgrades at the lawn cemetery.
The project, to be spread across a five-year period, will form part of future deliberations for the next financial year’s budget.
A report tabled to elected members noted the damage caused by surface water retention and that repairs for potholes and surface failures are attended to by council workers regularly.
“The past eighteen months of consistent rainfall has inflicted further wear to the surface,” the report by council’s parks and open spaces
manager Evan Harris said.
“The inverting segments of the kerb and gutter that surround each interment section exacerbate the retention of water as it cannot drain freely,” Mr Harris’ report reads.
Council has investigated designs and costings to replace kerb and gutter to four sections of the cemetery.
This work would be crucial if road surface works were approved, the report noted.
The motion regarding the cemetery was moved by Cr Rohan Boehm and seconded by Lisa Richardson at the most recent ordinary council meeting.
The eight councillors present at the meeting also voted to endorse the installation of signage displaying interment mapping at all shire cemeteries, including the installation of interment row identification letters on the kerb of the Narrabri lawn cemetery.
“I think it’s really important,” said Cr Boehm.
“I’ve actually had a bit of a drive around some of the cemeteries …and yes, when I reported back earlier on in the year that there was a lack of signage going on, I didn’t realise it was quite as bad as it is,” Cr Boehm told last week’s council meeting.
“Anyway, it’s great to be able to say that we’re paying attention to this.”
Narrabri Shire has a population of some 14,000 residents and covers an area of around 13,000 square kilometres. It is located in the heart of the Namoi Valley in the North West slopes and plains of New South Wales. The town of Narrabri is the administrative centre of the Shire. Set against the backdrop of the Nandewar Ranges and on the banks of the Namoi River.
Cr Lisa Richardson said it was fantastic there was a five-year plan but urged council to make the project happen as soon as possible.
“I would still like to be able to go for a grant, so it’s not five years, five years seems a little bit too long for this one project,” said Cr Richardson.
“I just want to make sure that if we do get a grant, we can do it sooner than the five-year plan.”
A point was added to the motion requesting council make applications for a grant to bring the program forward.
Another suggestion from councillors, which was also endorsed, was the need for community involvement and feedback on the matter.
As a result, council will publish the five-year plan and proposed mapping of the Narrabri lawn cemetery for public consultation.
“I think we should communicate this to the community,” commented Cr Tiemens.
“I’ve heard a number of people talking about the cemeteries.
“I know it’s not something that we like to speak about, but it is something that we should communicate widely that we’re doing something.”
Cr Greg Lamont added, “I’ve raised this as an issue, and I really appreciate what the staff have done here, and like Cr Richardson, I’d like to see it happen sooner rather than later and if we could find any grants or any funds in our budget.
“And as much as we may dislike it as human beings, this is a very sensitive area, and council and staff will get a lot of inquiry about it, but it’s something we should do properly.”
Mayor Ron Campbell said that he visited the cemeteries regularly and praised council staff for their current work.
“They are being very well looked after,” said Cr Campbell.
“I’ve spent a lot of time at cemeteries over the years in a previous life – digging graves and mowing lawns.
“They are being very well maintained, and that’s exemplified by the fact that we are receiving very little complaints about the cemeteries at the moment.
“I commend council staff on that.”