Grave concerns over rules
A GRIEVING family has called the Gympie Cemetery Trust's decision to lower up to 19 families' granite grave marker bases ‘disrespectful' with widower Jean Fisher saying “it's disgusting”.
The news came in the form of a letter from the Cemetery Trust stating that due to a review of Workplace Health and Safety guidelines “the (50mm) granite base under your loved one's grave marker will need to be set into the cemetery-provided concrete base”.
The letter also said the work would be undertaken by the Gympie Cemetery Trust supervisor and staff in the near future at no cost to families.
But one family who wished to remain anonymous contacted The Gympie Times yesterday and said they were distressed after hearing their loved one's granite base would have to be lowered.
“We would have preferred to have been told we couldn't have the 50mm base from the start,” the family's spokesperson said.
“It's inconvenient having a loved one's grave tampered with. It's wrong and we were horrified,” said the spokesperson.
The workplace health and safety reason for the lowering is believed to stem from the granite base being a trip hazard, but the concerned family said the concrete base the cemetery already had in place could be considered a trip hazard.
In April, when Jean Fisher wanted to remember her late husband “in the best way possible”, she was told she couldn't use a 50mm granite base, in the same Cassia lawn section and instead only a 10mm tile or no base at all.
The news distressed Mrs Fisher as there were a number of existing 50mm granite bases already in use in the cemetery and she believed there should be one rule for everybody.
But now Mrs Fisher is horrified to think that by speaking out about her situation she has somehow brought on this new ruling by the Cemetery Trust to lower the existing 50mm bases.
Mrs Fisher stressed she never suggested removing what was already in place, only wanting the chance to use what she thought looked better and in the long run would stand the test of time.
“It's the very last thing you do for a loved one, a nice headstone. You can not have some rules for some people and not for others,” she said.
“(But) for them to go and desecrate a person's grave... it's totally and absolutely disgusting.
“When that person is laid to rest (their grave) should never be tampered with.”
Mrs Fisher's solicitor wrote to the Cemetery Trust asking for her to be able to use a 50mm base, but the trust has declined to let her use an “oversize” granite base.
The Cemetery Trust told Mrs Fisher she couldn't have the 50mm marker because a new policy against their use was brought in October 2008, their placement was hazardous and they could be damaged by mowing.
The Cooloola Cemetery Trust had not returned calls from The Gympie Times before printing yesterday.