Gates to protect, preserve Bluff Cemetery

Visitors to Bluff Cemetery will soon be greeted by a pair of beautiful gates, instead of a vandalised area.

Invercargill City Council Parks Performance Manager Zealan Simpkins said parks staff had come up with a fitting solution to an unfortunate problem at the cemetery.

“Sadly, people have been driving into the cemetery at all hours of the day and night, sometimes in four-wheel-drives, and occasionally leaving rubbish behind and vandalising the area,” he said.

“With views almost rivalling those seen from Bluff Hill, the Bluff Cemetery has become a popular place for people to drive in and park up, regardless of whether they are visiting graves.”

After complaints from neighbours to the cemetery, and from the community, parks staff have sourced an old set of gates and had them refurbished. The gates will be installed this week.

Mr Simpkins said people would be able to access the cemetery on foot without having to use the gates, which will remain locked at all times.

Anyone who needed vehicle access could visit the Bluff Service Centre to pick up a key.

Bluff Community Board Chairman Ray Fife said the Bluff Cemetery was an important place for many in the community, and it deserved respect.

“It’s unfortunate that poor behaviour from a few people, who may not even be from the area, has resulted in a sacred space needing protection.

“Cemeteries are an important place for those who are grieving, or for people looking for a quiet space for reflection. By installing these gates, Council is preserving the area for everyone to enjoy in their own, respectful way,” Mr Fife said.