Call to restore old cemetery

Taieri Beach Cemetery is in need of repair. Photo supplied.
Taieri Beach Cemetery is in need of repair. Photo supplied.
Community help is needed to restore the historic Taieri Beach Cemetery, Taieri Mouth Amenities Society president Jeannine Basquin says.

The cemetery, which has been used since at least the 1880s, is in need of restoration with many gravestones unreadable, some grave sites sunken or cracked and some gravestones toppled and broken.

''It would be nice if something could be done for the old cemetery,'' Mrs Basquin said.

The amenities society had no immediate plans or funds available for any restoration, she said.

The Taieri Beach Cemetery is maintained by the Clutha District Council as part of its district-wide greenspace contract.

At rural cemeteries such as Taieri Beach this includes mowing lawns, interments and minor maintenance such as spraying.

A Clutha District Council spokesman told the Taieri Times the maintenance of headstones, monuments and concrete graves was the responsibility of the family of the deceased.

''No-one can carry out maintenance on headstones, monuments and concrete graves without gaining the prior permission of the family of the deceased,'' he said.

''There have been instances in the past where community groups, albeit with good intentions, have embarked on projects to restore old headstones only to subsequently raise the ire of family members of the deceased.''

If the amenities society wanted to restore the cemetery, it would need to contact the families responsible for affected graves, he said.

The council did not have funding available to assist with restoration, he said.

''Council can, however, remove any monument or other fixture from a cemetery which has fallen into a bad state of disrepair, in order to help keep the cemetery in a tidy condition,'' he said.

Mrs Basquin said she would like to hear from people keen to help with any restoration or those who who had advice on how such a restoration could proceed.

To talk to the Taieri Mouth Amenities Society about any possible restoration of the Taieri Beach Cemetery, contact the president, Jeannine Basquin, on481-1919.

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