Wonthaggi North resident Peter Boyle described the contaminated soil used to top up grave beds at Wonthaggi Cemetery as “disgusting”.
By Gav Ross
A PILE of sandy top soil contaminated with rubbish will be removed from Wonthaggi Cemetery following complaints by a local mourner.
Peter Boyle, a Wonthaggi North resident who visits his wife’s grave several times a week, said he first noticed something was amiss when he wandered through the lawn section of the cemetery just before Easter.
“I walked by some of the newer graves and thought ‘that’s some of the whitest topsoil I’ve ever seen’,” he explained.
“Then I saw the pile of soil up near the car park.”
Mr Boyle said the contaminated soil was filled with what appeared to be building site rubbish, including pieces of plaster, plastic, shade cloth, cement and garden pebbles.
When the Sentinel-Times visited the site, there was even a pair of dirty gloves poking out of the pile.
“I thought it was disgusting this stuff had already been spread on two graves,” he continued.
“It’s very disrespectful.
“For what (a family) pays for their loved ones to be buried here, it’s just not good enough.”
Mr Boyle said he immediately contacted a local councillor and he expected the soil to be removed and replaced.
He said he then had to visit Bass Coast Shire Council’s customer service centre in Wonthaggi several times before the matter was resolved.
Council’s general manager of governance and organisation development, Mark Brady, said soil utilised to top dress graves and for landscaping projects is sourced from sites “prior to building works being undertaken”.
Mr Brady also confirmed the pile of “low quality soil” had been inspected and arrangements had been made for
“Remediation work will also be undertaken on the few gravesites that were directly affected,” he added.
“Responsibility for the sourcing of soil in the future will now be managed by council’s Parks Team.”
“We have liaised with the resident concerned and he is happy with the outcome.”