Problems surface over Billen Cliffs funerals

BRISBANE woman Patricia Hughes and her dislike of cemeteries brought the issue of burials at Billen Cliffs to the surface.

Addressing Lismore City Council recently, Ms Hughes, who bought land at the multiple occupancy community below the ridge-top cemetery, said the notion of spending her retirement years near a 'creepy' graveyard was unpleasant.

She asked the council that the cemetery be clearly defined so people didn't wander on to her property, and insisted a curfew be implemented with the space closed after dark.

“I know from living near Toowong cemetery in Brisbane that young people are attracted to the open space,” she said.

Billen Cliffs cemetery, developed in 1987 when the community was five years old, has just six graves, with plans to extend that in future.

Ms Hughes said access to the ridge-top land was a rough track. During the last burial an off-road vehicle had to tow a hearse to the grave site.

But community spokesman Alfredo Bonanno said a previous all-weather access through another resident's land was closed when the new owner baulked at the idea of having a funeral procession wander through her property.

At least four individuals are opposed to the cemetery, but Mr Bonanno said the remaining 200 residents strongly supported it. In fact, the community had spent $20,000 fighting more than 40 complaints from disgruntled residents made to the Consumer Tenancy Tribunal.

Mr Bonanno said the cemetery was a vital component of the village atmosphere surrounding Billen Cliffs, with three generations of settlers living there.

“It's our history,” he said. “It's important that new generations here have a link with their past.”



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