DISGRACE: Lib Hodges. Kay Barnes, Ann Hawkins and Sonya Brent are some of the Dalby residents disgusted with the removal of items from their family and friends' graves.
DISGRACE: Lib Hodges. Kay Barnes, Ann Hawkins and Sonya Brent are some of the Dalby residents disgusted with the removal of items from their family and friends' graves. Shannon Hardy

Pained by grave change

FAMILIES are devastated to find their gifts to loved ones have been stripped away by the council.

Items have been removed from gravesites and left in large cages as part of a new three-monthly clean-up program by Western Downs Regional Council.

Dalby resident Vivienne Taylor said the council had no respect.

"We only had one son, that's Michael, he died when he was 13. I had no idea that I could not put anything on his grave. They should inform us of that,” Ms Taylor said.

"That is my only child, I pay for that plot. Why before Christmas? People say have a thing at home for him - he's not there, he is here.

"If I can't put two or three cars on my son's grave, this is so wrong.”

Ms Taylor asked for people to close their eyes and think of their child.

"They've passed away, someone's telling you you can't buy them a toy or a little memento.

"How would they feel?”

The council in a statement said it was proud of the upkeep in the cemeteries and continued to ensure these special places were well looked after.

"Western Downs Regional Council respects the sensitivity around our cemeteries and memorials and for this reason it is important to us that our cemeteries are both aesthetically pleasing and offer a safe environment for family and friends to remember their loved ones.”

For these reasons, the council requested some items be removed.

"We have conducted extensive community engagement for input on how they want their loved ones resting places maintained.

"As a result, we have requested that some items be removed from gravesites for safety and also maintenance reasons.”

The statement concluded by saying the clean-ups would occur every three months and that more information could be found on the council's website.

A sign at the entrance to Myall Memorial park states: 'Small ornaments or mementos may be placed within the area relating to the gravesite within the concrete beams sections. No items are to be placed on the grassed area of a gravesite except where council has made provisions for such.'

While it had been speculated by some this may mean the concrete area around the plaque, councillor Carolyn Tillman said this was a specification for certain cemeteries that have a long concrete strip above the headstones, Dalby not being one.

Information was disseminated to the public through changes made to the council's website and posts to its Facebook page as a letter drop was deemed too expensive.

Signs were also put up at the cemeteries to alert visitors of the changes but Cr Tillman could not confirm how long before the clean-up they were installed.

Cr Tillman invited anyone with concerns to contact her.


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