Cambewarra residents are calling on the Shoalhaven City Council to act on fixing a "severe" stormwater flooding issue at the West Cambewarra Cemetery, with one resident reporting a man was prevented from being buried there last year due to the water on the site.
Sue Dennett, who has lived in Cambewarra for the last seven years, said that because of flooding, the man had to be buried elsewhere.
"They had to move him further to another place in the cemetery," she said.
"We watched (the family) come in to do the burial and council came out to put out around 15 metres of netting out so they could actually get to where he was buried.
"I imagine that would have been very distressing for the family."
The flooding is said to be caused by a culvert that runs under Bangalee Road and dispells stormwater through the cemetery.
According to council, the culvert was installed by a private resident.
It is unknown how long it has been there.
"Our investigations have revealed that Bangalee road and the culvert were privately constructed by persons unknown many years ago and the continued maintenance was taken up at community request by council in recent years as the area developed," said Shoalhaven City Council Manager of Commercial Services Phillip Perram.
City Services Director at council Paul Keech acknowledged the flooding issue at the cemetery is ongoing.
"West Cambewarra Cemetery has a history of flooding since the Cemetery was established in 1874," he said.
"This flooding was extensive during the 2015 and 2017 East Coast Lows before the adjacent development, and again in 2020."
While Mr Perram outlined in a letter to Mrs Dennett that a "project was being developed to pipe the culvert underground" to a low point of the cemetery, Mrs Dennett said nothing has been done.
"Council didn't install the culvert but they haven't done anything to look after it," she said.
"I wrote to Phillip Perram in August 2020 who said council will do something about it in the next financial year.
"However, in that time, we had huge rains in March 2021 and the culvert had no chance of coping with it and the cemetery became even more flooded.
"Especially with the developments across the road and how it's affecting the land, water just travels from it and through the cemetery."
Mr Keech said council does monitor the risk of flooding at the cemetery and will assess whether there is a "viable solution".
"Council constantly monitors the catchment and the flooding risk, and will review the impacts of this storm as part of the clean-up process," said Mr Keech.
"Engineers will discuss their review with concerned [residents] and if a viable solution exists to improve the situation will prioritise and plan accordingly."
Mrs Dennett said the development adjacent to the cemetery, which is the 24 blocks of land at Tapitallee, is making flooding worse.
"Across the road from the cemetery was just an open paddock. So the water would just come down because of the natural fall of the land. It all culminated into this culvert which discharged into the cemetery," she said.
"Two to three years ago the land across the road was given approval for development.
"For the last year and a bit, the cemetery has been flooded quite severely because of it.
"It's totally disrespectful to those people, to their families...with some visiting quite often. You can't get near some of the graves without wearing your gumboots."
Mr Keech said the development lots across from the cemetery were "designed with 'no worsening' of typical stormwater flows at the cemetery a requirement".
Mrs Dennett said that while the recent rainy weather didn't cause severe flooding to the cemetery, it was a reminder that the issue should be fixed.
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