I write in support of Noelene Lyons (History at an end, Sentinel Times 12/1) who has undertaken years of indefatigable research into Wonthaggi Cemetery burials, thus enriching local history.
About 15 years’ ago, I formed a Friends of San Remo Cemetery Group which has transformed the town’s hilltop resting place from an unloved landscape into one with plenty of shrubs, signs, some bench seating and a circular memorial garden providing a tranquil setting for ashes – and reflection.
Like Noelene, we have been hammered by bureaucratic intransigence. While it is obvious cemeteries require rules and regulations, there are ways of communicating with volunteers without metaphorically beating them over the head with a “my way or the highway approach”.
This has resulted in my colleagues throwing their hands in the air and resigning, as Noelene has now done. The San Remo Cemetery has one remaining “friend” – me.
Bass Coast Shire Council is inviting the community to respond to a draft community engagement strategy. Here, in brief, is my suggestion: courtesy, two-way communication, consideration, a willingness to listen, flexibility, a recognition of the wide variety of talent in the area’s citizens and an approach that encourages volunteers rather than driving them to distraction.
That would do the job nicely.
Jane Ross, San Remo