New site proposed for memorial wall

The Dunedin City Council has proposed a new site for a memorial wall in the East Taieri Cemetery.

Mosgiel resident Margaret Van Zyl made a submission to the council’s 2020-21 annual plan for a memorial wall to be built in the cemetery.

Scott MacLean
Scott MacLean
Council parks and recreation group manager Scott MacLean gave the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board an update at its meeting last week.

Earlier in the meeting, board member Brian Miller tried to have the report moved to the November meeting, so the wall group and council staff could meet.

Only Brian Peat supported the amendment, so it remained in last week’s meeting

Mr MacLean said council staff thought the wall was a ‘‘wonderful idea’’ and would add value to the cemetery.

Mrs Van Zyl identified her preferred site and staff agreed to investigate it, and others if it was not suitable.

When the preferred site was researched and a ground-penetrating radar survey conducted, subsurface anomalies were found.

‘‘There’s a really high likelihood and possibility that they are human remains.’’

The presence of unmarked graves was common in historic cemeteries such as East Taieri, Mr MacLean said.

For that reason, the site was deemed unsuitable.

‘‘If you don’t have to disturb that land where it’s shown there could be buried bodies, then you simply don’t.’’

Another site, 10m-15m away from the preferred site, was deemed suitable.

There was no sign of subsurface anomalies, it was close to the amenities block and easy accessible for mobility-impaired people.

Mr MacLean answered questions but said the council was simply not willing to disturb potential human remains.

The board voted to note the report.

Mr Peat voted against and Mr Miller abstained.

‘‘I will leave the decision to Margaret,’’ Mr Miller said.

‘‘What she wants to do or whether she wants to carry on, it’s entirely up to her.’’

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