The Narrandera Shire Council will explore the employment of a full-time labourer or caretaker of Narrandera Shire cemeteries and allocation of a yearly budget for improvement works.
The successful notice of motion was submitted by Cr Tracey Lewis at the Council’s first meeting for 2018 on Tuesday.
“At the moment the cemetery it is a high risk area walking around with branches and all sorts of hazards including areas where you can fall,” Cr Lewis said.
“There are persistent problems in the cemetery and will always be but we have a chance to make it easier for people to access and for people to explore,” she said.
Issues and areas she suggested could be improved include:
• Row numbers in the old section would help identify graves
• An available mapping system made available the Visitor Information Centre that was of value both to locals and tourists
• Many weeds, burrs and bindii which are a major problem at the cemetery. Treatment will have to be extensive across the cemetery and around the outer edges.
Cr Lewis said the employment of a dedicated full-time labourer for the Shire’s cemeteries would improve the ability for council to improve the facilities and maintain them to a higher standard.
She said current operational maintenance costs for the cemetery was $25,657 (not including interment costs) so far this year and currently there were no water charges to the Council there.
“As we know more grass equals more water that in turn equals more cost. A water catchment and storage solution should be explored and perhaps rain water or natural water sources could be utilised,” she said.
General Manager George Cowan said from a technical perspective it was not appropriate for Council to be making resolutions in relation to specific staff positions at this level in the organisation.
If Council supported the general thrust of the Notice of Motion he recommended that Council consider a resolution along the lines of: ‘That a service level review of the cemeteries in the Shire be undertaken and the review establish appropriate service levels and examine the level of resources needed to maintain the cemeteries to those standards.’
Mr Cowan said that would place the issue on the agenda and allow Council to consider it at a future time.
Cr Lewis raised the possibility of a community working party to help maintain the cemetery.
Cr Wesley Hall came out in support of the motion.
“I like the word caretaker. I think it’s important that somebody take ownership of the cemetery.
“When I was a kid we had a caretaker of the sportsground, and that was his baby. I think something similar for the cemetery would work very well.”
Cr Tammy Galvin also mentioned noticing the prevalence of spiny burr on her visits to the cemetery.