Commonsense has happily prevailed in the long-running saga of The Forest cemetery.
That quality, so uncommonly hard to find, has been knocked into bureaucrats by a persistent and passionate community group with no ulterior motive other than to preserve the facility.
It took years of research and a complex negotiation through a bureaucratic maze. But it should never have been this way.
Goulburn Mulwaree Council initially took a high-handed attitude by advertising the cemetery’s sale without so much as notifying the group. A little cursory checking of local contacts could have avoided the grief. Granted, there was no known owner on the council’s database but the same record would have also revealed rate notices had never been issued for the cemetery. Surely it was a signal that something much deeper was at play.
It’s been left largely to the descendants of those buried at the cemetery to sort out. Historian Edith Medway and former public servant and another descendant, Denise McConnachie deserve every credit for a power of work.
Their passion caught the attention of bureaucrats like John Filocamo in Primary Industries. Eventually the council also came to the party, dispatching its heritage adviser to assess the cemetery.
Private cemeteries are inherently fraught when it comes to council rates. Trustees of the Roberts cemetery at Windellama have regularly sought rate relief from the council.
Clearly people care deeply about them. This saga has taught us just how much family history, identity and connection to an area matters to people. It’s a quiet, beautiful resting spot for several of our war veterans that thankfully, will continue to be preserved.
Upper Lachlan Shire Council has backed its ratepayers in opposing a two-year extension of the proposed Dalton gas-fired power station approval
Not surprisingly, it was standing room only for Monday night’s meeting at Gunning.
In the end, AGL may not proceed with the project. It could alter course and opt for other technologies instead.
But if it does go ahead, the council must cover bases. Any submission should call on AGL to redo outdated environmental studies if the extension is granted. Anything less is a disservice to residents.