A MANDURAH mother said she would not be replacing her son’s memorial plaque until the City of Mandurah made upgrades to Lakes Lawn Cemetery.
Emma Clausen was one of many residents who were happy to hear the news that police had arrested a man in relation to the theft of memorial plaques from cemeteries around Mandurah and Perth.
However, her son Mason’s plaque was not one of the ones recovered.
Mason died from a rare leukaemia in 2013, when he was 13.
“I’m annoyed at Mandurah Council for not carrying out proper maintenance at the property,” she said.
“It’s not up to standard, the fence is falling down, there’s no security out there.
“Their handling of it has been disgusting.”
Ms Clausen has had offers from strangers to pay for a new plaque, which could cost up to $3500.
But she said she refused to take their money until the cemetery was secure.
Ms Clausen is questioning why she should have to shoulder the entire price of the plaque when it was partially the city’s fault that it was stolen.
“They were also only glued on with silicon, no wonder the plaques were easy to take and thieves targeted the cemetery,” she said.
“Having a memorial to Mason is incredibly important. It’s the place where we go to visit him.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run my hand over that plaque, how many tears I’ve cried on it.”
City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said currently, security guards opened the cemetery gates at 6am and closed them at 6pm.
Ms Clausen questioned the point of this given the fence was broken.
Mr Newman said following the vandalism at Lakes Lawn Cemetery, fencing at the premises was fixed in mid-January.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Ms Clausen said.
“Grievers shouldn’t have to have their grief brought back up; our loved ones are meant to be resting in peace.”
She hopes that February’s arrest will lead to the people who stole Mason’s plaque being caught.
Mr Newsman said a report would be considered by Mandurah Council in coming months about fencing upgrades, security measures, resources and associated costs.
“In this instance, vandals cut the fencing to gain entry into the premises,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate that vandals will use any measures possible to gain entry.
“The City sympathises with the victims of these thefts.”
Mr Newman said that customers should organise their own insurance for plaques as thefts and vandalism is not covered by the City.
“This policy is consistent with the WA Metropolitan Cemeteries Board and most other cemetery trusts across the country,” Mr Newman said.