Council Set To Improve Cemetery
Bass Coast Shire Council is set to commence implementing the Wonthaggi Cemetery Master Plan.
Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said that this is the first council in the history of Bass Coast Shire Council and the former Borough of Wonthaggi to take any proactive steps to rectify the issues at Wonthaggi Cemetery since Council became the Trust almost 45 years ago.
“We are very keen to start the improvement process and explore opportunities to engage the community to work with us to make these improvements happen,” Cr Brown said.
Having now adopted a Master Plan for the Cemetery, Cr Brown said Council have a very clear direction on the improvements required.
“A targeted consultation process highlighted a number of issues ranging from poor records, to poor drainage, some frustrations including operational issues at community level and a lack of continuity in operational decision making,” Cr Brown said.
“Our first priority will be addressing the drainage issue and we are hopeful we will be able to secure grant funding to match the $50,000 provided to the Wonthaggi Cemetery Trust.
“Other improvements will follow with significant funding to be considered at future Council budgets. Should funds become available earlier then naturally we would bring forward such projects.”
The fees structure for the Cemetery has been reviewed as part of the Master Plan and requires the approval of the Department of Health.
Cr Brown said that while direct Council funding will be provided, the previous fee structure fell well short of providing sufficient funds for recurrent and perpetual maintenance.
“We found that current revenue raised isn’t covering operational costs, let alone the capacity to set aside perpetual maintenance of capital works funding,” Cr Brown said.
“Council as the Trust is managing the Cemetery in accordance with all relevant legislation. This is the first Council to do anything about the Cemetery and we are committed to following through with the Master Plan.
“Council has been in constant liaison with the Department of Health who are the responsible authority for approving cemetery fees. The proposed fee structure is consistent with their advice and fees generally applied with like cemeteries.
“We have great empathy for people who have an emotional connection with the Cemetery and we all want the same outcome.”