Tuesday, September 13, 2011

State of Cemetery continues to shame Nairn - "Distressed Families"

Back in June we reported on the considerable decline in the standard of maintenance at Nairn Cemetery. On July the 13th outrage at the decline in care of this important part of Nairn was expressed at a River Community Council meeting and the watchdogs acted quickly. All this seemed to have come as a surprise to Highland Council and they admitted things were on the slip. There had been warnings expressed that the administration's policy of cuts and putting grass cutting out to contract could be potentially damaging to a town like Nairn which needs to keep its appearance in top condition given how important it is to attract visitors . The state of the cemetery is so much more important than anywhere else in the town and if a local authority cannot care for this facility to the standard that its citizens demand then why are we paying the wages of the Councillors who voted for the policies that have created this shameful situation?

Things seem to have got worse since July despite Graham Marsden taking the matter up with officials. This evening (Tuesday) Stephanie Whittaker of the River CC read out a letter she had received from the council which explained that the contractor was only responsible for grass cutting and the path-edging, weed-killing, shrub pruning and grave digging was the responsibility of the Council and that since Cllr Marsden's intervention it had been agreed that Nairn Cemetery will now be classed as a high amenity cut. This observer can only wonder why Nairn Cemetery was never classed as the highest amenity value in the first instance?

There was more to come at the meeting and it was quite shocking to hear what Liz had to say. She told the meeting: "I've had complaints over the weekend about breakages to vases etc around the graves when they were trimming. The grass was very long and there were some very upset families there on Friday. They were saying to me that it is difficult enough going up to visit graves without seeing it in a dreadful mess and cleaning up breakages that have been caused by the contractors."

Liz went on to say that she had been in contact with an official in Aviemore called Val Gallagher who has contacted the families to hear what their concerns are. To this observer this is almost beyond belief, if you are unhappy with the way the Highland Council are looking after the area around the grave of a loved one then you have to deal with some official in Aviemore!

Iain Gordon of River CC sternly told Cllr Marsden of his dissatisfaction in the matter and how this was a very emotive matter. Graham replied:

"I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm just saying what's already been said, and that is there is, I think, a recognition among all of us that this is a very sensitive area and we must work very hard to ensure that it is done properly."

Liz went on to explain one of the explanations for the drop in standards she had been given by Tech Services. They had told her that there was a new regulation in regard to weed control and they couldn't just pre-spray weeds...now they have to wait until the weeds are substantial before they can start spraying." This explanation was met with gasps of incredulity from some of those present.

Stephanie once again came into the debate and told the meeting: " We need to do something, we should write on the behalf of the distressed families, it is no good saying this is dreadful and doing nothing about it!"

River CC will once again be complaining to the Council. One is left perplexed at how the ruling group members on the Highland Council who represent Nairn (Graham, Laurie, Sandy) have allowed it all to come to this. What is the point of you being in your positions if you cannot sort this out?


Anonymous said...

Let the distressed families look after it if they are so bothered. All the rest are dead and not likely to be bothered. Times are tough, money is tight, a field full of dead people is hardly a priority.

Compassion said...

,Nice to see that people like Anonymous are still alive with a heart of gold, who i wish will offer to give up their spare time & care for the graves for the old aged widow whose husband was killed in the war & never had family,those who out of no fault of their own had very little money & struggled to give their loved ones a decent burial, those who lost a child at an early age,
the people who may come from foreign lands who died in this country whose family live abroad,the brave men & women who carrying out their duties lost their lives trying to save others,
those who dedicated there lives to help others, the list goes on
surely they deserve some respect
so Anonymous hope to see you on your knees tidying up the next time i visit the cemetery

Graisg said...

Well said Compassion. A tidy cemetery has been up until now a fact of Nairn life. Messers Marsden, Park and Fraser voted for a change that has left us with a mess.
People also pay large amounts of Community Charge and expect services to be maintained - a chunk of that goes to pay the wages of the said councillors too.

Anonymous said...

If anonymous goes before me I will make it my lifelong duty to take some dandelion seeds, some giant hogweed and maybe some stinging nettles to adorn his/her graveside.
and then I could put some bread down on it to attract some seagulls and crows.He/she won't be bothered because as he /she says ...only the living see what goes on.

Respect said...

"He/she won't be bothered because as he /she says ...only the living see what goes on."

so why think of doing it then? and how will you know when anon passes on!

Our cemetery is run by Highland Council and the rightful expectation is that it be maintained to a satisfactory standard, one befitting those who are buried there, and for the people who visit or attend funerals

Jane Harkiss said...

Ooooh, so young and so very bitter. Are you just a bit stressed about your exam results, perhaps? Kick back and relax baby - everybody dies. Apart from zombies of course...but that's another story.