Waverley Cemetery

From: Bronwyn Kelly via CommunityRun <info@communityrun.org>

26 May,2016

Dear Supporters

Although it’s less than a month since we last updated you there have been some small but not insignificant developments.

In April we re-started the campaign to add more signatures to our petition in anticipation of submitting it afresh to the soon to be amalgamated Eastern Suburbs Council. When we last submitted it to Waverley Council in June 2015, the petition contained 1,740 signatures. It now has over 3,500 signatures (3,496 electronic and 60 hand-signed). A huge thank you to you all.

We are targeting 4,000 signatures as a minimum and hope that if you haven’t already shared the petition with friends you’ll be able to do so now. See the link to the petition below.

Here’s why it’s important to keep sharing the petition.

Waverley Council continues to ignore the 3,500 signatories and almost 1,000 people who’ve liked our facebook page and is instead favouring the views of 50-200 near neighbours of the Cemetery who reject our proposals for a pavilion and niche pillar fence but have no alternative proposals of their own.

The near neighbours are relying on a pending state heritage listing to provide some resources for “protection” of the Cemetery. But as many of you will know, the NSW State Government and the Australian Government provide very little in the way of grants for heritage conservation and the grants that they do provide will not touch the sides of the conservation needs of Waverley Cemetery.

Knowing this, Waverley Council has recently taken steps to seek options which will get the Cemetery off its hands. They have called quotes from consultants to consider the means by which Waverley Cemetery could be set up as a separate legal entity from Council. They have also held some talks with private sector operators to canvass their appetite for taking over operation of the Cemetery.

In other words they are looking for a means of privatising Waverley Cemetery.

This isn’t quite as bad as the prospect feared by many last year that the whole Cemetery would be sold off to developers (although that can’t be ruled out yet). But it does bode very ill for the Cemetery because privatisation of its operations would mean that any future profits will be syphoned off to a few private shareholders leaving the Cemetery itself devoid of funds for conservation. Even worse is the prospect that a privatisation would probably only be attractive to investors if it were propped up by subsidies from the government, the council and the ratepayers.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that most of the current councillors of Waverley would be so keen to get shot of Waverley Cemetery from a political point of view that, if they couldn’t sell it, they would actually fall back on paying a private company to take it.

Hopefully, a newly amalgamated council will see past the NIMBYism dominating the issue at the moment and recognise Waverley Cemetery’s site and services for the remarkable community assets that they are. The Cemetery has been run successfully in full public ownership and operation for 140 years with all benefits going straight back to the Cemetery. There is no reason why it can’t be run as a profitable essential service, 100% owned by the public, for at least another century.

All we need is a council willing to look at the great options that are available for generating income from modern cemetery related services and from activities compatible with promoting the history of the site.

Please help us head off any deals that sell Australians short of the financial and cultural returns they’re entitled to from our marvelous Waverley Cemetery by encouraging friends to sign the petition to Save Waverley Cemetery.

Thanks yet again for your continuing support.

Drs Bronwyn and David Kelly

Campaign Organisers, Save Waverley Cemetery

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Here’s an email you can send on to your friends. 

Dear Friends

I have signed this petition to Save Waverley Cemetery, a unique Australian heritage icon that is currently under threat due to Waverley Council’s refusal to fund vandalism prevention measures, land stabilisation works and conservation needs. It would be wonderful if you could consider signing this petition and if possible spread the word to your friends.

https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/save-waverley-cemetery

You can find out more about the campaign to save Waverley Cemetery at:

www.savewaverleycemetery.org

Thanks so much for any support.

Best regards