COUTTS CROSSING CEMETERY

Clarence Valley Council votes
to remove protection for threatened species

February 27, 2007

The elected members of Clarence Valley Council last week voted unanimously (one member, Cr. Terry Flannagan was absent) to remove a fence protecting a threatened herb species, the Swamp Foxglove, at the Coutts Crossing cemetery near Grafton. In doing so they have conveyed their collective lack of concern for threatened species, biodiversity, and the environment.

Following the discovery of the Foxglove some years ago, a concerned council worker erected the fence to protect the plant from regular mowing. Unfortunately, some community members took exception to the fence, claiming it somehow desecrated sacred ground, seemingly ignoring a long established practice of erecting all manner of fences around individual grave sites, ranging from wrought iron structures to wooden pickets.

It is hard for many of us to comprehend how a fence can be considered desecration, when motor vehicles, pedestrian traffic, and ride on mowers apparently are not, and we have to question the motives for the complaint, and the councillors' decision.

What the decision does do, is put council in a position where it could well be forced to prepare a management plan for the site at considerable expense to ratepayers.

The Clarence Environment Centre will monitor the site for any evidence of on-going destruction of the threatened plant by either mowing or trampling.