Monday, 16 July 2007

Old Cemetery - a new beginning?

There were 23 submissions to the SDC regarding the state of the old Otautau Cemetery on their consultation for the draft annual plan. In response to these submissions they have stated:

"Council agreed that cemeteries were important for the District's heritage and commented that as cemeteries are either under the jurisdiction of local Community Boards, Community Development Area Subcommitties or independent trusts/families, finding funding to preserve these areas is a significant issue, particularly in small communities with a small rating base.

"The Council considered that there would be a number of other similar cemeteries throught the District that were not actively maintained by Council but had heritage value and required preservation.

"The Council resolved to consult further with the Wallace Community Board over what could be done with the cemetery, particularly to assess options for obtaining sufficient funding to bring the cemetery up to a maintainable standard and funding for ongoing maintenance.

"The Council also resolved that a scoping report be prepared to assess the number and location of historic cemeteries in the District, who owns and maintains them and an initial assessment of what the likely cost to conserve these may be.

"Since the Council meeting on 27 June 2007 the Wallace Community Board has met to discuss the issue. The Board are proposing to have a working bee for all interested parties to help restore the cemetery one weekend. Prior to this the cemetery site will be visited by one of the Council's Area Engineers and the Work Schemes coordinator to assess the site and formulate a plan for the working bee. The Work Schemes crew will also clear the long grass beforehand. A date for the working bee has not yet been set but if you are interested in being involved you can contact us at the Council on 0800 732 732."

This is a great result! Thanks to all of you who made submissions to the Council. Thanks to the Southland District Council and the Wallace Community Board for listening to these submissions and responding so positively.

If anyone would like to have their submission held at the Otautau Museum in its archive on the old cemetery, please send them a copy or drop it by the Courthouse on Sunday, 2pm-4pm. And in the meantime let's call that 0800 number and get ready to do some work.

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