Clash over cenotaph

Bindoon Chittering Retirees residents protest beside the Bindoon cenotaph.
Bindoon Chittering Retirees residents protest beside the Bindoon cenotaph.

Placard-waving Bindoon Chittering Retirees residents protested at the Bindoon War Memorial near the Chinkabee Complex on November 25.

Bindoon Community Progress Association president Rin Rutherford said the BCPA held the annual Anzac Day ceremony at the cenotaph for more than a decade.

He said BCPA offered to upgrade the cenotaph and surrounds for about $35,000 at no cost to the Shire.

‘Responses to this offer have been ambivalent to say the least and I’m horrified there is an attitude in the Shire that they want to move the cenotaph out of public view,’ Mr Rutherford said.

‘The BCPA has a strong belief that a war memorial designed to honour the sacrifices made by our fallen countrymen must remain clearly visible and in the public eye, not hidden away in a dead-end side street. We won’t support a move to downgrade the profile of Australia’s fallen heroes.’

Shire president Robert Hawes said council was seeking public comment to make a decision on moving or improving the war memorial.

He said the main issue with its current location was the close proximity to the Great Northern Highway and the need for police to stop traffic for the minute of silence during the ceremony.

‘It is 20m from the highway and as much as we appreciate police stopping traffic, it appears the traffic was stopped earlier this year for longer than that minute silence,’ Mr Hawes said.

‘The Shire has the chance to apply for a grant to move or improve the cenotaph in readiness for the 100th anniversary Anzac Day in 2015.

‘If we did move the cenotaph, there’s the cost of moving it then there is the selection of an alternative venue.

‘Some people think it should be in a peaceful, secluded area while others think the centre of town. The Shire at the moment does not have its own view.’

Bindoon resident Jan Stagbouer said most residents wished to keep the cenotaph in its site.

‘You can’t just take it and put it in a side street.’

Find a submission form and information document at www.chittering.wa.gov.au under ‘Council/Have your say’ or email cdo@chittering.wa.gov.au requesting them. Submissions close this Friday, December 13.