Hoons desecrate cemetery

Hoons make their mark of disrespect at the Blackwater Cemetery despite council’s efforts to curb their behaviour.
Hoons make their mark of disrespect at the Blackwater Cemetery despite council’s efforts to curb their behaviour.

LOCAL hoons desecrating the Blackwater Cemetery car park have been branded “inconsiderate idiots” by a councillor and have caused outrage from residents visiting buried loved ones.

Central Highlands Regional Council Deputy Mayor Paul Bell has slammed the hoon behaviour, labelling it stupid and inappropriate behaviour by the faceless few who are vandalising the cemetery gateway.

“They just can’t do that sort of wilful destruction, it is inappropriate behaviour and insensitive to the sacred places,” he said.

Cr Bell’s outrage followed reports from concerned residents such as Les Kent who, when visiting his son and grand-daughter buried at the cemetery, was shocked to discover the extent of hooning evidence in the car park.

“I went to visit my son’s grave… you just don’t expect to see that,” Mr Kent said, referring to the black tyre marks scorched on the bitumen, and the bolted rubber wheel stops gouged from the ground.

“It’s not real good, because, you know, they’ve got no respect.”

Mr Kent said the parking area at the cemetery is “where it all happens” and, despite previous measures taken by council to curb the problem, hoons still managed to vandalise the area.

The cemetery has been a hoon hot-spot in recent years, and the Blackwater Herald previously reported on the issue in July, 2009.

Bradley Duke, then acting CHRC executive manager, declared hooning and vandalism would have to be addressed, and said the council couldn’t keep “investing significant funds into infrastructure and amenities if it’s going to be wrecked by the nameless, faceless few”.

Two years on and the council has addressed the issue, sealing the previously dirt car park with bitumen and installing rubber wheel-stops to prevent the possibility of dangerous driving at the graveyard gates.

But it hasn’t been enough, and now the CHRC is planning further infrastructure additions to cease hooning, again.

“Where we can, we are intending to put large concrete sleepers attached to the ground to give better road marking, but also to make it impossible for hoons,” Cr Bell said.

“We’re also looking at putting road blocks that will cause damage to vehicles where people carry out these hoon acts.”

Blackwater officer in charge Sgt Chris Clague said police had not received any reports of vandalism to the cemetery, but was aware of hooning and vandalism around town.

“Blackwater police will prosecute any offenders for hooning offences and the offenders will be subjected to the hooning vehicle impoundment laws,” he said.

Hooning penalties include a 48-hour vehicle impoundment for first offences.

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