Memorials may be pulled down

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A number of roadside memorials to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists that have died on Penrith roads could be removed if Penrith City Council’s draft guidelines for roadside memorials are approved.

Under the plan, flowers, wooden crosses and toys could be removed if they are located on landscaped verges, within 30 metres of traffic signals, attached to any roadside structure or within a metre of a public footpath.

The guidelines are being considered because: “Whilst Council does not discourage the establishment of memorials, it has an obligation to manage the road reserve to ensure such memorials do not cause a distraction to road users, be a hazard to road users or fall into disrepair and become unsightly”.

Sylvia Falls, mother of teenager Candice Falls who tragically passed away in a car accident on the Great Western Highway in December 2010, said that the rules would affect many roadside memorials, but that she could understand why it would be difficult for families who live near the site of a road tragedy.

“I can definitely understand, even though the accident did not involve someone from their family, I think it would be difficult to be reminded daily of a fatal accident,” she said.

Ms Falls said that she placed a cross at Candice’s site because she wanted other drivers to see it, take notice and slow down.

“I put a white cross on the Great Western Highway so drivers would slow down, but if Council would like to remove the memorials along that strip I think we should install a slow down sign on behalf of the families,” she said.

Ms Falls would like to have a sign that tells drivers to slow down that also has crosses on it with the names of the people who have died along the stretch of road.

“There are many of these ‘slow down’ signs in the rural areas that have small crosses next to the phrase to remind drivers of the consequences of speeding, so why not have the people’s names on there too? That way drivers might get the message that it really can happen if they don’t slow down,” she said.

Ms Falls said she would like to know if other parents in the area support the idea of the sign as a way of educating drivers and would like Council’s support.

Members of the public are encouraged to comment on Penrith City Council’s draft roadside memorial policy before July 16.

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