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What’s happening at Council cemeteries

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Archived News Item. Note that information below may no longer be current or accurate.
Archived: 24 Jan 2018 5:01pm

You may have seen articles online and in the local papers about the Council asking families with burial plots in Council cemeteries to remove items from grave surrounds.

The Council is in the process of contacting families with grave sites across the Selwyn district and asking them to remove any adornments that are placed outside of the grave surrounds. This means the graves then comply with the current Cemetery Bylaw.

Items or adornments placed on the grave beam are fine and do not need to be removed.

The Council wants to keep the district’s cemeteries in a condition where all visitors can have a respectful and peaceful place to remember their loved ones. To comply with the current Cemetery Bylaw, all adornments are required to be placed on the concrete beams provided, not on the lawn areas in front or around the plots, meaning people can continue to place adornments on the beams.

Any items placed on grave surrounds pose a risk to maintenance for our maintenance contractors (such as mowing the lawns). Broken glass is also a hazard for all cemetery users.

Examples of items found on the grassed surrounds include fairy lights, candy canes, extra soil, planted flowers, flower receptacles, cans and bottles of alcohol, which can result in broken glass.

Some news media have made reference to a grave site at Prebbleton cemetery. Out of respect for the family concerned and their privacy, we are not commenting further on this grave.

Cleaning up the district’s cemeteries

We have started this process with the Prebbleton Cemetery. We sent a notice out on December 8, 2017, and the one month notice period for families to get back to us has now expired.

Some families have contacted us and others have either removed adornments from the outside of grave surrounds (placed them back on the grave beams) or our contractors have removed them.

For the other cemeteries, we’re asking people to remove any items that have been placed on the grassed areas around graves. Families/next of kin have a month from the date of our letter to remove or shift items from outside grave surrounds.

Moving to new burial plots

Families can get permission to build concrete edging around the burial plot for ornaments if the plots are located in an older section of the cemeteries which already have grave surrounds. But this is dealt with on a case-by-case basis and the families would need to contact the Council first. Permission will not be given to graves in the newer areas of the cemeteries. This is because the Council has moved towards lawn cemeteries where the beams are level with the grass (just a headstone sticking up).

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