Bus stop 'encroaching on graves'

20:25, Oct 15 2012
Gail Lyons
TAKING A STAND: Gail Lyons is fighting for Devonport's St Paul's graveyard to be gifted back to the public.

It may be shiny and new but the replacement bus stop outside Devonport's Mt Victoria cemetery could be encroaching on historic graves, a local resident claims.

Gail Lyons helped restore the cemetery six years ago and has been campaigning against the sale of the neighbouring St Pauls Presbyterian Church since it was put on the market last year.

"It is an archaeological site, and now to extend the bus stop further into the cemetery is just ridiculous," she said.

"I have spent years trying to restore these graves and people come along and do willy nilly things and it is so disrespectful."

Lyons said her research shows there are many unmarked graves around the edge of the cemetery and one somewhere under the pavement.

"Right behind where the bus stop is, is William Oliver's grave but there are only rumours as to where it is.

"The council have known about this since the 1990s, they could have built the bus stop right on top of him," she said.

Oliver was the first settler to buy land on the North Shore.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the new shelter was not any deeper than the previous one and only slightly longer.
"Historically the shelter may have encroached slightly into the graveyard, but this did not cause a problem and there have been no complaints from the residents nor from the Presbyterian Church."
A new shelter was installed under a former North Shore City Council policy to replace the old type of shelter because of age and the risk of entrapment. 

Hannan said a registered survey costing several hundred dollars would be required to ascertain the exact location of the church graveyard boundary and would only be carried out if there was a complaint from the landowner.

The landowner, Northern Presbyterian, have been trying to sell the church property since last year.

It was listed by Harcourts for $1.72 million and marketed as a "heavenly home".

Residents, including Lyons, fought the sale which led to Northern Presbyterian taking it off the market and looking at options to subdivide the land to separate the cemetery from the church.


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